skip to content
photo of computer keyboard, pen and a electronic tablet

Find a license in the A-Z Index

1. Refine the topic list by letter


2. Select a topic to view their list of licenses

Title: Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits
Alternate Title: Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits

Wildlife rehabilitation involves acquiring and caring for orphaned, sick and injured wild animals, primarily birds and mammals,for the purpose of releasing such animals back to the wild. The only legitimate purpose for wildlife rehabilitation is for the release of animals back to the wild. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Subject: Animals
Creation Date: 10/24/2016 2:18:38 PM
Modification Date: 3/15/2024 8:13:21 AM
Agency Name: Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Department of
Agency URL:
Agency Description: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the state's natural resources, hunting, fishing, state forests, state parks, lakes, rivers, streams, boating and water safety, trails, snowmobiling, skiing, education, enforcement, wildlife management, lands and minerals.
Agency Phone: 651-296-6157
Agency Fax: Agency URL:
Agency Address: Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Dept. of
500 Lafayette Rd.

St. Paul
MN 55155

Division Name: Division of Ecological and Water Resources
Division URL:
Division Description:
Division Phone: Division Fax: Division URL:
Unit Name: Nongame Wildlife Program
Unit URL:
Unit Description:
Unit Phone: Unit Fax: Contact person(s): Unit URL:
Unit Address:
500 Lafayette Rd., Box 25

St. Paul
MN 55155

Audience: Hold Application URL:
Renewal URL:
Versa URL:

How to apply for permit

Before applying for permit, it is strongly recommended that applicant take introductory wildlife rehabilitation training courses, and get hands­ on experience as a volunteer working with practicing rehabilitators. Wildlife rehabilitation training and hands­ on experience with animals helps ensure that best practices are used for both the animals’ welfare and caretaker safety.

To obtain a DNR wildlife rehabilitation permit you must:

  1. Contact the Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist in your area for information on how to schedule an exam.
    See: Northwest MN   Northeast MN   Central MN   South MN

  2. Take and pass the written examination for your class of permit.

  3. Complete a permit application form and forward to your Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist.

  4. Pass the Facility Inspection.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Renewal

If you wish to renew your current class permit, submit a permit renewal form PDF along with the following information to Nongame Wildlife Program, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155, prior to the permit expiration date:

  • A current copy of your records. (This must be on file with the Minnesota DNR.)
  • A brief summary of ongoing rehabilitation activity.
  • Proof of successful completion of continuing education and training.
  • Name of a master class permittee who will serve as your advisor (novice Class only).
  • Name of a veterinary consultant.
  • A facility inspection is required once during every other permit renewal period, or a change of facility location, or upon application for a higher level permit.

Classes of wildlife rehabilitation permitees

(NOTE: All permitees must comply with all local, state and federal rules and regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation. The following is a brief summary of the wildlife rehabilitation regulations and the levels of qualifications. For the complete laws, consult Minn. Rules 6244 and Federal Statutes 50-CRF.)

Novice Class

  • Must have reasonable experience and skills at handling and care of animals.
  • May possess only orphaned birds and orphaned rabbits, hares, squirrels, pocket gophers, rats, mice, voles, lemmings, beaver and porcupine for rehabilitation.
  • May not possess any endangered or threatened birds or mammals, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey, falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

General Class

  • Requires a minimum of two years as a Novice class permit holder.
  • May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds, saw-whet and screech owls, kestrels and mammals for rehabilitation. Deer and bear may be possessed for rehabilitation if specified in the permit.
  • May not possess any endangered or threatened bird or mammals, big game, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey, falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

Master Class

  • Requires a minimum of four years as a General class permit holder.
  • May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds and mammals, except endangered, threatened, and big game species, for rehabilitation.
  • Deer, bear, endangered and threatened species may be possessed for rehabilitation if specified in the permit.

Requirements common to all permit classes

  • must be at least 18 years of age
  • must pass a written examination for the particulars permit class
  • must have adequate facilities for care and treatment of animals undergoing rehabilitation
  • must have a licensed veterinary consultant to advise on care and treatment of animals

Mentoring program

Master class permittees helping novices
Novice class permit holders are required to have a master class permittee as a mentor. This is to ensure that novices will have an experienced rehabilitator to whom they can turn to answer questions, teach them various techniques, and provide direction in dealing with problems. A letter of recommendation from the mentor is needed in order for a novice to advance to the general class permit level.

Veterinary consultant
DNR rules require all wildlife rehabilitation permit holders to have a licensed veterinary consultant. Beyond meeting the regulatory requirement, it is critical for the welfare of animals undergoing rehabilitation that permit holders have a good working relationship with their veterinary consultant. To a large extent, the quality of care you will be able to provide animals will depend on your choice of a veterinary consultant and the working relationship you maintain with that person.

Possession of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern species

  • Novice, general and master class permittees may possess endangered, threatened and special concern species for transport to another person authorized by permit to possess such animals for rehabilitation, or to a licensed veterinarian for emergency treatment only.
  • Novice, general and master class permittees may possess special concern species for rehabilitation as allowed under the general species provisions of their permits.
  • Only holders of master class rehabilitation permits may possess endangered and threatened species for rehabilitation by special provisions in their permits.

Continuing Education
Persons wishing to renew their permits will be required to first complete a certain amount of continuing education. Also, advancement to a higher class of permit (e.g., novice class to general class) requires completion of continuing education while in the lower class. Such continuing education is to help insure that permit holders keep current on changes and developments in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care in order to insure that they are handling and treating animals in a humane manner based on the most current knowledge in the field.

Record Keeping
All permittees are required to keep complete and up to date records on forms provided by the DNR. A copy of each year's record must be submitted to the department by January 31 of each year.

See Study guide & exam book

Rules: 6244


Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Renewal Application

Period of Issuance:
Length of Determination:
Other Info:
Activity: License Detail URL:

Facts About Wildlife Rehabilitation

Nongame Wildlife Program

Permitted wildlife rehabilitators list

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

DNR Mobile Web Pages

Social Media Community


back to top