See Hunting and Rehab Age Maps Below:

See Hunting and Rehab Age Maps Below:

The following interactive maps are Part 2 of a new Center for Wildlife Ethics initiative to raise public awareness about state wildlife agencies’ eagerness to make opportunities available for young people to kill wild animals and the overall disparity between the legal standards governing hunting and those pertaining to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. (See Part 1 of this initiative here)

As the first map presented here demonstrates, programs that enable young children to inflict violence on wildlife are under-regulated, or in some cases, unregulated. The young age at which children are allowed to hunt is even more striking when contrasted with the strict age requirements for those interested in life-saving activities: rescuing and rehabilitating injured or orphaned wildlife. As the second map and accompanying table below demonstrate, saving the lives of animals is generally heavily regulated, applicants are burdened with numerous required qualifications, and in the vast majority of states, rehabilitation is not permitted for minors at all.

Although both wildlife rehabilitation and hunting are governed by the same agency in every state, these maps clearly reflect agency wildlife management priorities that strongly favor killing (see the Center for Wildlife Ethics publication, “Killing for Fun(ds)”). The result is that states advocate violence and killing animals while wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities that promote compassion and respect for the lives of wild animals are loaded with burdensome regulatory hurdles that serve to discourage and in many cases prevent volunteer participation. The disparity in the regulatory schemes also clearly reflects wildlife agencies’ philosophy that wild animals are commodities or “renewable resources” to be exploited, rather than individuals to be protected and valued.   

State-by-state hunting age requirements*

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*State-by-state minimum age requirements for unsupervised hunting provided in the map on this page.  

This interactive map is accurate as of February 2016. Regulations affecting hunting age requirements are modified often and several proposed state-level changes are being considered as of this publication. Moreover, the online location of relevant agency publications changes frequently, so the links provided in this map may become outdated over time. If you would like to report an error, regulatory change, or new resource to CWE, please use the contact form.    


State-by-state WildLife Rescue and Rehabilitation Minimum Age Requirements:

This interactive map is accurate as of May 2016. Regulations affecting wildlife rescue and rehabilitation age requirements are modified often and several proposed state-level changes are being considered as of this publication. Moreover, the online location of relevant agency publications changes frequently, so the links provided in this map may become outdated over time. If you would like to report an error, regulatory change, or new resource to CWE, please use the contact form.



State by State Requirements for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Permit:


Wildlife Rehabilitation Requirements


Must be 19+ years old, must be legal resident of U.S. and meet facilities and operating standards.


Must be 18+ years old; no mammal rehab permitted; migratory bird rehab requires Federal permit through USFWS; Applicant must meet Federal requirements and state will issue a concurrent permit.


Must be 18+ years old; must successfully complete rehab exam within 3 years prior to application; must be licensed practicing vet or have six months experience performing wildlife rehabilitative work for an average of eight hours a week or have rehab permit in another state of federal permit; must be licensed vet or provide affidavit affirming that veterinarian that has agreed to provide and be reasonably available to provide veterinary services for the rehabilitation of wildlife; must provide detailed description, diagram, and photos of compliant facilities; must provide written statement describing applicant's rehab experience and preferred method of disposing of non-releasable wildlife.


Must be 18+ years old; must not have violated any law re: possession of wildlife or cruelty to animals w/in 5 years of application; must have licensed vet who will assist rehabber; must provide proof from sheriff or judge AND municipal planning board that facilities comply with all local ordinances.


Must be 18+ years old to legally indemnify the state as required; must have two letters from permitted rehab facilities in the nearby vicinity stating that they believe there is a need for a new facility; applicant must document four hundred hours within a two year period of experience working with a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility in California, or experience that the department determines is equivalent; A letter from a veterinarian who agrees to sponsor the applicant by overseeing diagnoses, medication and surgical procedures by the proposed facility; facility and protocol compliance; must pay fees of $41 for application and 114.54 for inspection; must indemnify state of California and agents of the state.


Must be 18+ years old; must have Colorado DL or ID card; must have no wildlife violations, animal cruelty violations or revocations of rehab license OR must attach written statement explaining such violation; must enter agreement with consulting vet; must find sponsor with full wildlife rehab license for at least three years work under sponsor's supervision from one to several years; must pass facilities inspection.


Must be 18+ years old; must attend state Wildlife Rehabilitation Seminar and pass exam with score of 80% or higher; must have 40 hours of training under an authorized Connecticut rehabilitator with at least 3 years of experience; must obtain signed statement (criminal penalty for false statements) from licensed veterinarian stating that they will assist, consult and treat applicant's wild animals.


Must be 18+ years old to hold state and employees harmless as required; experience must be demonstrated by showing apprenticeship experience with another rehabilitator; must provide signed statement from DVM stating that vet agrees to provide professional assistance to applicant; Permittees will hold the state and its employees harmless from any legal action arising from rehabilitation activities. *Regulations are currently being updated so check back regularly.


Must be 18+ years old; must have at least one year of experience and 1,000 hours working/volunteering with a permitted rehabber in the care of sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife OR take a wildlife rehabilitation test with score of 80%; must pass facilities inspection; must have veterinarian to consult and make referrals for veterinary care.


No explicit age requirement (but age will be taken into account when considering experience and knowledge of species); must pass facilities inspection and demonstrate knowledge and experience in onsite interview; must show training or experience or both in the handling, care, and treatment of the types of wildlife to be rehabilitated; must show sufficient knowledge of the type(s) of wildlife sought to be rehabilitated to assure identification of the species(s) and familiarity with food preferences thereof; must score at least 80% on the Wildlife Rehabilitation Exam; The issuance of a rehabilitation permit is further conditioned upon the Department’s determining that an applicant’s rehabilitation services are needed or are likely to be utilized in the area he/she proposes to operate.


Must be 18+ years old; applicants require Federal permit through USFWS; Applicant must meet Federal requirements before state will consider issuing a permit; Must volunteer with a rehabilitation facility in Hawaii.


Applicants under 18 years old “would not be considered” (per discussion with state conservation officer); must have veterinarian of record for treatment of rehabbed animals; must provide detailed explanation of applicant's experience with species to be rehabbed; must provide map of proposed facility location and description of facility; application subject to regional need for rehabilitators. If regional director believes there is no need for a new rehabilitation facility locally, an otherwise qualified applicant can be denied a permit; no formal examination required; case by case applicant approval.


Must be 15+ years old; must demonstrate experience working in wildlife rehabilitation; must pass facilities and rehab/euthanasia protocol inspection for minimum standards; must show access to suitable release location for wildlife and approved institution for receiving dead or permanently disabled wildlife; must provide reference statement from a licensed veterinarian, zoological curator, conservation police officer or a Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources, Natural Heritage, or Fisheries biologist as appropriate stating that the applicant has experience in treating and handling wild animals and has facilities available to treat, care for and produce self-dependent fauna for release to the wild; no written examination.


Must be 18+ years old; must be IN resident; must have 1+ year documented experience working at animal clinic, rehab facility, vet clinic, university clinic with the species to be rehabbed; must provide signed statement from veterinarian willing to assist applicant with rehab; must own at least one approved reference book on the species applicant intends to rehab; must score 80% or higher on written wildlife rehab exam; must pass facilities inspection.


Must be 18+ years old (per inquiry with state DNR); must provide narrative on why rehab project is being undertaken; must serve as apprentice rehabber for 1 year internship with master wildlife rehabber OR 2 year internship with general wildlife rehabber; must provide written documentation of access to a licensed veterinarian willing to provide professional counsel to the rehabilitator; must meet facilities requirements; facilities and standard of care may be subject to inspection at any time by ad hoc committee created by DNR director.


Must be 18+ years old; must have at least 100 hours of training over the course of 1 calendar year (up to 20 hours can be fulfilled as IWRC or NWRA training course); must provide letters of recommendation regarding the applicant’s knowledge of wildlife rehabilitation from three persons who have known the applicant for at least two years (recommenders must be conservation officers, veterinarians, licensed rehabbers, or other wildlife professionals); must score 80% or higher on wildlife rehab exam; certificate of completion for IWRC or NWRA training course; must satisfy facilities inspection requirements.


Must be 18+ years old; must prepare compliant facilities and pass inspection; must complete IWRC course “Basic Rehabilitation” or obtain a “course pending” status for up to one (1) year (veterinarians exempt from course); must pay $25 application fee.


Must be 18+ years old; must not have been convicted of a felony or Class II or greater wildlife violation (or equivalent) in Louisiana (or any other state); must verify access to veterinary services; must complete state approved wildlife rehabilitation course and be certified under approved wildlife rehabilitation organization's guidelines; must pass facilities inspection.


Must be 18+ years old; must score 80% or higher on rehab examination; must provide signed agreement from licensed veterinarian stating they will provide consultation/vet services to applicant; must have facilities, or plan to provide facilities that comply with NWRA or IWRC minimum standards; Must have knowledge of resources available to wildlife rehabilitators: websites, guides and manuals, other rehabilitators in your area, workshops, courses, etc.; must pass wildlife violations check (must have no wildlife violations); facilities subject to onsite inspection by regional wildlife biologist.


Must be 18+ years old; must be veterinarian or provide documentation that the applicant has provided physical care for animals under the authority of a permit allowing a person to rehabilitate wildlife; apprentice permit allows applicant to work 200 documented hours of physical care for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife under the direct supervision of a master rehabilitator during a 2-year period; after 2 years as an apprentice, applicant may seek master rehabilitator permit.


Must be 18+ years old; must be domiciled in MA; must pass written exam; facilities must be inspected for compliance; must specify a MA licensed veterinarian who will be available for consultation and advice.


No explicit age requirement, but applicant under 18 would need written permission from adult property owner and adult must assume liability for rehab activities (per phone discussion with state DNR); Must provide two letters or affidavits, one signed by a licensed veterinarian and one signed by current rehabilitation permit holder, indicating that the applicant has demonstrated, through paid or volunteer experience, adequate skills in handling injured and orphan animals; must have compliant facilities; must have completed a wildlife rehabilitation basic skills class.


Must be 18+ years old; must pass written examination; must have compliant facility and pass inspection; must have licensed veterinary consultant to advise on care and treatment of animals.


No explicit age requirement, but a minor would have to be rehabbing as an assistant to an adult that would be the responsible party. A person under 18 would not be approved to rehab without a supervising adult; Must provide letter from local vet who agrees to provide advice and/or assistance; must provide letter from established, permitted rehab center that agrees to serve as a back-up/networker with applicant; must answer questionnaire.


No minimum age requirement; Must have graduated from a school of veterinary medicine or have other substantive training and experience in wildlife rehabilitation.


Must be 18+ years old; applicants require Federal permit through USFWS; Applicant must meet Federal requirements before state will consider issuing a permit; if Federal requirements are met, state will consult with local veterinarians and conservation officers to determine whether applicant has experience and reputation for working with wildlife; meeting federal requirements does not guarantee issuance of a state permit.


Must be 16+ years old to become sub-permittee on rehab permit of one of the three state-approved entities engaged in rehabilitation in Nebraska (Wildlife Rescue Team, Inc., Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc.); migratory bird rehab requires Federal permit through USFWS; Applicant must meet Federal requirements (age 18+).


Must obtain signature of the practicing Nevada licensed veterinarian who will examine, diagnose, perform veterinary services applicant's wildlife; must demonstrate at least two years of practical experience working with a licensed rehabilitator of wildlife or veterinary work that qualifies the applicant for wildlife rehab; must provide detailed description and diagram of compliant facilities/cages; must agree to be solely responsible for all expenses incurred in rehabbing wildlife; repeated attempts to obtain clarification on minimum age for wildlife rehabilitation were unsuccessful.

New Hampshire

Must be 18+ years old; must work under consultation and support of licensed practicing veterinarian and provide vet's signature; must pass facilities inspection; must provide summary of experience in handling and caring for wildlife; must indemnify state Fish and Game Department and assume full liability for applicant and assistants in the care of rabies vector species.

New Jersey

Must be 18+ years old (per conversation with Div. of Fish and Wildlife); must complete one year minimum (200 hours) apprenticeship with a licensed rehabilitator; must provide letter of recommendation from the sponsor who details the proficiency with regards to the species and type of care; must have Letter of Commitment and Veterinary Services Form completed by a veterinarian that is willing to work with applicant; must pass facilities inspection; must demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities of various aspects of rehabilitation through interview/questionnaire.

New Mexico

Must be 18+ years old; must provide references from two verifiable, acknowledged, and permitted animal rehabilitation authorities who have known the applicant for at least 2 years and who attest to the applicant's ability to handle and care for protected wildlife in a humane and effective manner; facilities must pass inspection; must demonstrate formal education, training and/or actual experience in wildlife rehabilitation (passing written or practical exam can be used to satisfy this requirement).

New York

Must be 16+ years old; must pass written wildlife rehabilitator exam with score of 80% or higher; must provide 2 written statements from references (references must not be relatives of applicant or each other) outlining applicant's character and reputation in the community; must interview with a DEC wildlife manager or representative; must be NY resident; must not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation or misdemeanor under the Environmental Conservation Law or settled and compromised a civil liability therefor, nor have been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony within the previous three years.

North Carolina

Must be 18+ years old; Applicants are encouraged to have prior experience in the care and rehabilitation of wildlife or have completed, at minimum, an introductory course in wildlife rehabilitation; must pass facilities inspection.

North Dakota

There is no wildlife rehabilitation program in the state. State prefers to “let nature take its course.” (per telephone discussion with state Game and Fish Department staff).


Must be 18+ years old; must meet facilities requirements; must have completed an approved wildlife rehabilitation course; must provide documentation that applicant has a veterinarian's assistance when needed.


No explicit minimum age, but must own proper facilities and be able to pay bills associated with rehab operations, so applicant most likely should be 18+ (per telephone discussion with Wildlife Division Law Enforcement); must have facility inspected for compliance by county warden; must pay $10 application fee; must have a veterinarian of record and a signed agreement with that veterinarian to assist, if needed, in the care of any wildlife.


Must be 18+ years old; must be Oregon resident or non-resident whose rehabilitation activities occur in Oregon or whose facility (or facilities) exist within the state; must provide letter from an Oregon licensed DVM agreeing to act as a medical supervisor and consultant (if applicant is not a vet); must be approved by the local Department district wildlife biologist or other Department representative as meeting a need for rehabilitation services in the area; must pass wildlife rehab examination with score of 80% or higher (and score 80% or higher on each "section of interest"); must not have been convicted of, or admitted to, a violation of a wildlife law (under the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact), or administrative rule, or permit issued under the Oregon wildlife laws within the previous five years; must meet facilities requirement or provide plan for a compliant facility.


Must be 18+ years old; Must provide letter from a sponsoring wildlife rehabilitator and letter from sponsoring veterinarian who will be assisting and advising applicant; maximum of two permits may be issued for each county (with some exceptions); must pass examination with score of 80% or higher; must successfully pass an oral examination/interview which shall be conducted by members of the Council and the Bureau of Wildlife Protection; must submit photographs or videotape with commentary of their facility for review.

Rhode Island

Must be 18+ years old; must be Rhode Island resident; must provide letter from Rhode Island licensed and permitted veterinarian, agreeing to provide services at no cost to the state; Facility must meet or exceed minimum standards; must present written letter of recommendation by Level ll or llA rehabilitator willing to serve as the applicant's sponsor/consultant during the first year of applicant's apprenticeship; must pass written rehabilitation examination.

South Carolina

No minimum age requirement; wildlife rehab is unregulated and there are no requirements for rehabbing; DNR does not take or approve applications; DNR only collects the names and contact info for people who rehab and provides a list to the public; state would “prefer to let nature take its course” and it “is not in the business of saving wild animals” but understands that some people do wish to engage in rehabilitation.

South Dakota

Must be 21+ years old; must show veterinarian commitment to assist with animal care and evaluation; must pass written examination; facilities must be inspected and comply with minimum standards; must legally indemnify state of South Dakota; Game, Fish and Parks agency will approve sufficient permits to meet the wildlife rehabilitation needs of an area, if needs are met, otherwise qualified applicants can be denied rehab permits.


Must be 21+ years old; must have 200 hours of experience in rehabilitating the species in which the person wishes to be permitted OR one year of full-time employment as a Veterinary Technician or a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and be Board Certified in the state of Tennessee or possess a valid permit for wildlife rehabilitation from another state for the species in which person wants to be permitted; must not have been found in violation of any state or federal wildlife laws; permits will be issued on an “as needed” basis in which need is determined by the Tennessee Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (otherwise qualified rehabbers can be denied permit); must provide letter of recommendation from a currently permitted rehabilitator; must provide letter from a licensed veterinarian who will be assisting applicant; facilities must pass inspection or applicant must provide photographs of premises and caging.


Must be 18+ years old; must have two letters of recommendation from people who have known applicant at least two years. Letters must be from Texas Wildlife & Parks conservation scientists or game wardens, licensed veterinarians, permitted wildlife rehabilitators; certification from IWRC or NWRA can be substituted for one of the letters; must complete IWRC or NWRA training course within the preceding three years OR attendance at a national wildlife rehabilitation conference within the preceding three years OR membership in a state or national wildlife rehabilitation organization OR a test score of 80 or above on a department-administered wildlife rehabilitation examination; department may deny permits to applicants who have been convicted of any violation of state or federal law applicable to fish and wildlife.


Must be 18+ years old; must provide signed statement from a licensed veterinarian agreeing to assist the applicant OR copy of veterinary license if applicant is a vet; must provide a signed, written statement from a wildlife rehabilitator indicating the applicant has a minimum of two years experience performing wildlife rehabilitation under that person's direction (must be for average of at least eight hours per week and for the taxa of animals for which the applicant is applying); must pass wildlife rehabilitator examination; must provide signed, written statement from the city or county in which the applicant proposes to rehabilitate wildlife granting approval for the proposed activities.


Must be 18+ years old; Must be Vermont resident; Must purchase liability insurance policy covering the Permittee, assistants/handlers of wildlife (minimum coverage at least $300,000); must provide signed statements from two character witnesses (not related to applicant or each other) attesting to applicant's abilities and/or qualifications as a wildlife rehabilitator; Must have signed agreement from veterinarian who agrees to provide services to applicant; must pass interview/wildlife rehabilitation exam with Vermont Fish and Wildlife warden. Must score 80% or higher on exam; must pass facilities inspection; must not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Law within the previous three years, nor have been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony within the previous three years.


Must be 14+ years old; between the ages of 14 and 18, must have a parent sign the rehab application; Must pass facilities inspection; applicant for Category I permit (lowest level, generally caring for orphaned uninjured animals) must provide evidence of completion of at least six (6) hours of approved continuing education prior to submitting an application; must be sponsored by an active Category II or Category III permittee.


Must be 18+ years old; Must possess WA state veterinary license OR demonstrate six months experience in wildlife rehabilitation with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator including at least three months in spring and/or summer OR documented education in wildlife rehabilitation; must have written agreement with a veterinarian willing to sponsor you and provide medical advice and treatment; must pass with 80% correct or greater the written Wildlife Rehabilitation test; must be a member of IWRC or WWRA; must pass facilities inspection.

West Virginia

Must be 18+ years old for apprentice class permit; must pass written examination with a score of 80% or higher; must have verified experience at handling and caring for animals and birds according to DNR's criteria; must identify a licensed veterinarian who has agreed to assist and consult with the applicant on the treatment and care of animals and birds being rehabilitated; must be advised by a master level permit holder; must have compliant facilities; must be 21+ for master class permit and meet other additional requirements.


Must be 18+ years old; must pass rehabilitation exam; must provide a sponsorship agreement signed by Advanced Licensee who is willing to mentor applicant's wildlife rehabilitation activities; must provide Consulting Veterinarian Agreement stating a veterinarian licensed to practice in Wisconsin is willing to consult and assist with the care and treatment of wildlife being rehabilitated; must have compliant facilities.


Must be 18+ years old; must be domiciled in Wyoming; must pass facilities inspection; must provide certificate of training specifying the hours of training completed and the course curriculum signed by the entity providing the training and indicating the details of the training; must provide a letter from a DVM in which the DVM agrees to examine and treat injured wildlife; must provide certification that the proposed possession and treatment of wildlife is not contrary to the laws of the appropriate county or municipality, or any other applicable laws; must provide certification from another wildlife rehabilitator permitted by the Department that the person possesses the necessary skills and abilities to be permitted as a wildlife rehabilitator; must provide certification that the applicant has within five (5) consecutive years immediately preceding the date of application not been assessed a civil or administrative penalty for, or been convicted of a violation of any provision of this regulation, or of any provision of state statute, county or municipal ordinance involving cruelty to animals, or of any provision of any federal statute or regulation that is related to activity for which the permit is sought.