Farmers and orchardists misusing scare guns to frighten birds away from their crops need to better understand the regulations governing their use, according to the EPA which often receives complaints about excessive noise.

The advice comes after multiple reports were received from the north west of the state where the devices were sometimes used outside of permitted hours, and more frequently than permitted.

EPA deployed officers to the area and set up noise logging equipment that showed that while the scarers were mostly within the 100db level, some were going off five times more frequently than they should be, and that on some occasions went past midnight.

“The use of these devices is important to the protection of the crop, but they need to be used within the guidelines,” said Paul Ratajczyk, EPA North Western Region.

“Our noise guidelines are available at and provide  good advice about using devices like bird scarers. 

“We want to build the community’s understanding of these regulations. It’s important they know not to set bird scarers off too early, or too often. Understandably, farmers want to protect their crops but they have to look after their neighbours too.” 
Guidelines for the control of noise from scareguns 
• A scare gun must not be used if the distance between the scare gun and any nearby properties is less than 300m  
• The scare gun must not emit more than 70 blasts/day. 
• The scare gun must not be used earlier than 7 am or later than sunset. Earlier starting times will be allowed if this is agreed to by the complainants. 
• The total time of operation of a scare gun must not exceed 12 hours in any one day. However, the time of operation may be divided into two separate periods, provided the interval between blasts is not less than six minutes. 
• The scare gun must be located as far away as possible from any complainant’s house. 
• Wherever possible, the shielding effects of natural features, buildings and so on shall be used to reduce the level of the blasts at complainants’ houses. 
• Wherever possible, the use of the scare gun shall be minimised.

Reviewed 24 November 2021