In order to become a licensed Problem Animal Control (PAC) agent, interested individuals must complete the following:

  • Successfully complete a Massachusetts trapper education training course.
  • Pass a written examination demonstrating knowledge of wildlife and habitat, handling and capturing techniques and animal welfare.
  • Possess the necessary licenses for hunting, use of traps and firearms.
  • PAC agents who want to handle individual problem coyotes must successfully complete a training program in coyote hunting techniques.

What is the PAC Application Process?

Prospective PAC agents may start the application process at any time of the year. There are several criteria which need to be completed. MassWildlife recommends accomplishing each task in the order below. Depending on course availability, this may not be possible, but it can be helpful during the application process. Individuals will not receive a PAC license until the criteria below are met.

Successfully Complete a Trapper Education Course

In order to legally trap on someone else's property, both a valid Massachusetts trapping license and a trap registration number are required. PAC agents (and fur trappers) must successfully complete the free trapper education class offered by MassWildlife's Hunter Education Program. This one-day course is usually held on a weekend day.Students receive instruction on the Best Management Practices for trapping furbearers. The course covers basic techniques with a strong focus on the responsible treatment of animals, legal methods, safety, selectivity, and ethical trapper behavior. Trapper Education Courses are offered 3-4 times within the calendar year by the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program in different parts of the state. Prospective PAC agents should be prepared to travel to another part of the state due to course availability. To enroll in a Trapper Education Course, fill out a Course Notification form online or call the Hunter Education Program office in Ayer  at (978) 772-0693.

Pass the PAC Examination

The PAC exam is scheduled at the applicant's convenience, usually at the Field Headquarters. Exams may also be scheduled at one of the MassWildlife District offices. The PAC Handbook, an excellent reference and invaluable study material source for the PAC exam, is available by sending a check for $15 payable to MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to: PAC Study Materials, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell St., Suite 230, West Boylston MA 01583. Questions? Call the Field Headquarters at (508) 389-6300.

Obtain a Trapping License and Trap Registration Number

Trapping licenses are valid during the calendar year and may be obtained at MassWildlife offices or other license vendor locations. Trapping license information and regulations. Trap Registration Numbers are obtained through the MassWildlife Boston Permit office. The Trap Registration Number fee is $5. You will need proof that you have successfully completed the Trapper Education Course in order to obtain a Trap Registration number.

Complete PAC Application form

Prospective applicants must complete this form pdf format of    Pac Application Form   , and send it to the address on the form. Do not fill out the form until you have completed all the criteria. Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you will be able to purchase a license online through the MassFishHunt system. The application form is also found in the study packet for the PAC exam.

Additional License and Certification Information to Consider

The following information is pertinent to PAC agents who plan to use firearms in their activities or to gain certification to handle problem coyotes.

A Hunting License is required for PAC agents planning to euthanize animals with a firearm. Anyone with a hunting license from a previous year, another state or Canadian province, or a certificate of completion from a hunter education course from any state or Canadian province may purchase a Massachusetts hunting license. If you lost your Massachusetts Hunter Education Card, records of course completions go back to the mid-1960's. Duplicate cards may be issued when you contact the Hunter Education Program.

First-time hunting license buyers must successfully complete a Basic Hunter Education Course. Courses are generally 14-16 hours and are held January through October throughout the state. To enroll in a Hunter Education Course, check the Hunter Education Course schedule and follow the enrollment instructions or call the Hunter Education Program office in Ayer at (978) 772-0693.

Gun Licenses

Anyone who wishes to use a gun as a PAC agent must have a gun license. If you do not already have a gun license, your municipal police department issues these licenses. The application process can take several months, especially if you have not taken any approved safety courses. Successful completion of an approved gun safety course may be required by the local police department in order to apply for a license. The MassWildlife Basic Hunter Education course is one of several legally approved gun safety courses for applying for gun licenses, but check with your local police department first.

Coyote Handling Certification

Coyotes may be handled only by licensed PAC agents who have successfully completed a MassWildlife training and certification program specifically pertaining to coyotes. There are also specific reporting requirements when taking or attempting to take a coyote. This provision became effective in 2008. Contact the Field Headquarters office at (508) 389-6300 for more details.