Fig. 3. The electric pole shocker.
(1) uninsulated (exposed) 12-gauge (0.28-cm)
copper, ground, and hot wires (no connection
from ground to hot wire)
(2) insulated wire to ground
(3) insulated wire to fence charger
(4) 14- to 16-foot (4- to 5-m) post
(5) mounting screw
1-inch x 6-inch (2.5- x 15-cm) self-insulating
(7) 3/4-inch (0.2-cm) sheet metal screws with
plastic expansion sleeve or tubing between
head of screw and plastic pipe
Throughout the last year we have seen Natural England issue licenses to gamekeepers allowing them to kill Buzzards to protect their pheasants within, or close to, release pens. Like many people we too have been justifiably concerned at this unacceptable development. How many more Buzzards, a protected specie, have to die in order that a gamebird classed as an alien species can survive for a few months before it is then shot for sport? Of more concern what is lying in wait around the corner many of us have already asked? Will Natural England begin to bow to ever increasing pressure from the game shooting community by issuing additional licenses allowing gamekeepers to kill other species of protected raptors in the near future to protect their livestock?
In our view Natural England appear to have been far too hasty when they decided to issue licenses to legally kill Buzzards. Perhaps after all other viable forms of non lethal control could have been used but was not? Perhaps Natural England instead of researching non lethal control methods, decided instead to take the easy option by issuing licenses to kill Buzzards before other more appropriate forms of control was even attempted?
We have now undertaken our own research and have found a very effective device called a pole shocker. This simple non lethal device is being used in American by game farms and poultry farmers to prevent a variety of hawks, including Goshawk, Cooper’s hawk, Red-tailed hawk and Sharp-shinned hawk from attacking and killing their livestock including pheasants.
Each unit consists of a ground wire running 1 inch (2.5cm) from a parallel to a wire that is connected to an electric fence charger. The electric shocking unit is installed on top of 14 to 16 foot (4 to 5m) poles and erect the poles around the threatened area at 50 to 100 foot (15 to 30m) intervals.
When a raptor lands on the pole, it immediately receives an electric shock and is repelled from the immediate area. Other perching sites in the area should be removed or made attractive. Energise the shocking unit only from dusk until dawn for owls, and during daylight hours for Buzzards and hawks.
The electric pole shocker keeps raptor from perching within a threatened area but does not exclude them from nesting in or using a nearby area. Most hawks and owls are highly territorial.A pair that is allowed to remain will aggressively defend the area and usually will exclude other hawks and owls. Thus, game managers and poultry farmers find it beneficial to coexist with a pair of hawks or owls that have learned to avoid an area protected by pole shockers.
It appears that a licence to use the above device to frighten away Buzzards from a pheasant rearing pen would be required from Natural England. We are confident that Natural England would be prepared to issue such a licence for the use of this device as a method of non lethal control, rather than issue a licence to kill a buzzard or buzzards.