Electric pole shocker as buzzard deterrent is illegal

It’s been brought to our attention that the Raptor Politics website is advocating the use of something called an Electric Pole Shocker as a non-lethal method of deterring buzzards from perching around pheasant pens.


This device has previously been advertised for use in the USA and it’s apparent that the image and technical specifications above have simply been cut and pasted from this US website (see here).

Let’s just be clear. The use of this device in the UK would be an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, section 5(1)(a): the use of “any electrical device for killing, stunning or frightening” would constitute an offence.


26 Responses to “Electric pole shocker as buzzard deterrent is illegal”

  1. 1 crypticmirror
    January 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    What on earth is “Raptor Politics” about? Is it the sort of place which would tax my blood pressure too much?

    • 2 Alan L Chambers
      January 4, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      If you care about raptors (i.e birds of prey) in the UK, and their persecution by the shooting fraternity, then it might have an effect on your blood pressure, Otherwise, no.

  2. 3 Chris Roberts
    January 4, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    At least the advert in in British imperial measurements. I detest the way that metrification is being imposed on us in the UK. I do agree that the device should be outlawed.

    • 4 Secret Squirrel
      January 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Metric has been legal in the U.K. for over 100 years, and been exclusively taught for over 45. Time to completely abandon old and illogical imperial ones

  3. 5 Doug Malpus
    January 4, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Just covering the pens with netting will stop the pheasants being taken by birds of prey. Although, doing such would, eliminate the need to kill buzzards and would spoil the gamekeepers fun!

    I can think of the perfect use of an electrified post when one sees a gamekeeper tying his boot laces!!!! It may spark his brain to life. Hmm.


  4. January 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Raptor Politics advocating non lethal control is shocking.
    Does this include, gas guns, inflatable moving scare-men, fireworks, brood persecution, lowland introductions of HHs, destroying buzzard nests before they breed? I could go on but don’t want to add to the list of mad ideas.

  5. 8 Trapit
    January 4, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    As the comment on Raptor Politics correctly states ,electric fences are commonly used to deter ground predators from Pheasant release pens,so what is the difference. Apart from a few feet in height.
    Netted over Pheasant pens are not suited to every situation, also this type of device,if approved,would offer some degree of protection to recently released birds which are just as vulnerable as those in a pen.
    I would have liked to have given these a try when I had seventeen Goshawks hunting my main Pheasant release area a few years back.

    • January 4, 2017 at 7:51 pm


      The main objective of our post was to highlight the fact that the use of an electric pole shocker to deter buzzards is illegal in this country. The original post on the Raptor Politics website made no reference to this whatsoever, which in our view was irresponsible.

      The subject of whether electric shocking buzzards is more preferable to shooting them is an entirely different issue and not one we intend to entertain here.

      17 goshawks hunting your pheasants? Yeah, sounds really plausible.

    • 11 Dylanben
      January 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Quite simply, the difference is that one is legal whereas the other isn’t – though we know that this wouldn’t make any difference in many places. In relation to the netting of pens – if keepers can’t be arsed to protect their vulnerable young birds by providing them with safe, housing they shouldn’t be surprised if the local, naturally occurring, indigenous wildlife thinks it’s Christmas come early. Why should wildlife suffer because of the keepers’ ineptitude.

    • 12 Doug Malpus
      January 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      On the grounds that pheasants are raised with all the ‘care’ and attention that free range chickens are given. Raking in subsidies for them being farm stock. Then released to magically become wild birds and gun fodder. Then, even more magic, penned again to become farm stock, to rake in more subsidies.

      Rich mans game of fooling the the authorities for profit then fooling those sadistic enough to shoot huge numbers for fun at great cost (which they can well afford). Little of the gun fodder is eaten.

      It is well past time to rid our country of these archaic killing games, where profit is the only aim. With no concern for the cruelty, environmental damage and pollution.

      Raptors only do significant damage in the minds of the gamekeepers and land owners, who blatantly exaggerate the numbers of their precious gun fodder taken.


    • 13 crypticmirror
      January 5, 2017 at 12:53 am

      Seventeen? Wow, if I’d seen that many I’d have had my phone straight out for a photo that I could sell. That is incredibly unusual. I think just about everybody these days would do that. What I am saying is that, as with Bigfoot and Nessie claims, pics or it didn’t happen!

    • 14 Iain Gibson
      January 5, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Why is it always gamekeepers, never birdwatchers or conservationists, who see giant Buzzards and unbelievable flocks of seventeen Goshawks marauding their pheasants?

      Why such concern over an introduced game bird which is already destined to be shot in large numbers on a single day, while the Buzzards and other predators take relatively few for their own survival? This is clearly pathological obsession.

      By the way “Trapit,” you didn’t tell us how you solved your Goshawk “problem.” I dread to think.

  6. 16 Trapit
    January 4, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Somethings awry with the timing of the last two comments, I posted mine at 6.25.

  7. 17 Robin Waterman
    January 4, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Only an offence if it’s calculated (likely) to cause bodily injury to any bird that comes in to contact with it. If it’s not giving out enough of a shock to cause injury, there would be no offence.

    • 18 Dylanben
      January 5, 2017 at 12:24 am

      Who is the arbiter as to whether bodily injury is calculated to be caused or is, indeed, actually caused? Giving something an electric shock, severe enough to cause it to rapidly depart, could well be argued to constitute bodily injury, albeit of a possibly temporary nature. It is quite likely that different species, or even individuals within a species, could be affected differently. No doubt it is this high degree of uncertainty which prompted the inclusion of the term ‘frightening’, in addition to ‘killing’ or ‘stunning’, in the context of ‘electrical device’ in Section 5(1)(a) of the WCA.

  8. 19 Trapit
    January 4, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Regarding my seemingly implausible number of Goshawks, four nests in 0.8sq km, three successful,work it out.
    Don’t make glib remarks just because someone from a shooting background gives a valid opinion.

    • January 4, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      “Four nests in 0.8sq km” – now that does seem implausible. There must have been one heck of a good food supply for that number of raptors to nest so close together.

      • 21 Trapit
        January 5, 2017 at 12:47 am

        The fourth nest moved on after a couple of years, it was a short distance away from the other three which always seem to follow a similar pattern.
        Last year I think they were closer than ever,I have not got round to working it out yet. Pheasants have not been released for three years now,but the Goshawks are still there.
        At the time of the four nests, there were also two more on different parts of my beat.

        • 22 Iain Gibson
          January 5, 2017 at 2:29 am

          One wonders if Trapit knows the difference between an occupied nest and a used nest. Four active Goshawk nests in 8 square kilometres would be plausible in a particularly rich habitat, but four nests within one square kilometre is very hard to believe. As the birds are said to be still there, perhaps Trapit might like to inform his Local Ornithological Recorder or Raptor Study Group for confirmation.

          • January 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

            Of course these birds were feeding on Grey Squirrels. But sadly we still live in cuckoo land when it comes to any one doing any thing to see why Goshawks and Pine Martens need protection from ‘Red Alert’ wasting £millions every year trying to save Red Squirrels when these animals can do the job for them. Talking about illegal, may be some of these groups should be taken to court for destroying the food of these ‘protected’ species making them more reliant on pheasants and then estates applying for licenses to kill a working eco system.

        • January 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          Trapit, your observations, if correct, should be published. From what books i have at hand, 1-3.7km between nests is given for woodland block (Raptors, a field guide to survey and monitoring by Hardey et al.).
          With accurate measurements of “Four nests in 0.8sq km” you should be able to tell us exactly how far apart the successful and unsuccessful nests were (are?) from each other plus the distance to the other 2 pairs you mention.
          The phrases ‘a short distance away’, ‘I think they were closer than ever,I have not got round to working it out yet’ and ‘similar pattern’ don’t give much information.

        • 25 Messi
          January 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm

          Sorry, Trapit, as someone involved in game management you undoubtedly know a lot more than many about what’s going on in the field, but the density of active goshawk nests you describe is implausible – some birds of prey can certainly nest in close proximity and achieve high nest density (hen harriers….red kites), but not goshawks.

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