It’s Not Funny! Getting Shocked by Electric Fence

After years and years of being around electric fences, yes, I have received my fair share of unwanted shocks. And, the term “It’s not funny” has been heard and verbalized many times.

Getting shocked really isn’t funny, but then again, it is. Being an electric fence salesman and working at a lot of trade shows over the past 15 years I have also heard a lot of great stories from customers about being on the receiving end of those shocking stories.

I guess that since I am suppose to know what I am doing around electric fences I should probably never get shocked – right? Wrong, I get my fair share of them and it usually hurts. I think that some people may have a higher tolerance for the pain that is associated with an electric shock than others. Myself – I have a low tolerance for it. It hurts me like the “dickens”.

I’ve known some old mechanics that can pull a spark plug connector and put a finger between the plug and the wire to see if they are getting spark. I remember the first time I tried that, it felt like my shoulder was being torn out of its socket! I’ve never tried that stupid stunt again.

Not all, but most of my shocks in working with my own fences have been incurred when working with it when it’s raining or wet. Electricity has a way of flowing through moisture, on gate handles and the like.

It’s funny to me, how when I do get a shock: the first thing I usually do is look around to see if anyone is watching, even if I’m five miles from a road, in a ditch on the back side. I talk to myself a lot when I am working alone. I think a lot of farm and ranch people do that. After an unexpected shock I usually say something that is not recognized by Webster. Then I usually chuckle and answer myself, by saying “That’s not funny.”

A few years ago my wife, Jackie, was helping me pull up an old temporary fence. It had been used for a while before I had gotten around to building a proper three strand fence. It was a single strand of 12.5 gauge wire about eight feet inside of the new fence. It was on ½” fiberglass posts.

I wanted to rewind the wire on a spinning jenny for reuse some place or some day. It was a nice damp spring day. We had pulled all the clips off the posts and pulled the posts, so the wire was just lying on the ground. I gave the fun job of rewinding the wire on the spinning jenny to my wife, while I dinked around with some other important things nearby.

She was hunkered down over the jenny on her knees in wet soil. Well, during the winding process the abandoned wire got flipped over into the new fence. This new fence had around ten thousand volts running through it. About the time I heard her squealing like a wounded pig, I also heard a series of sharp snapping sounds.

I could see what had happened and was grinning from ear to ear and trying real hard not to vocally laugh out loud. Pure fire was shooting out of her eyes and for the life of me I couldn’t keep that smiley smirk off my face. She very matter of factly told me that “it’s not funny”… wasn’t, but it was.


About Gary Duncan

Gary has been active in the fence business for over 15 years. He also raises Highland cattle in a management intensive grazing system and was the first person to market the PasturePro post back in 2005. He enjoys discussing all things grazing and is the main contributor to the blog.
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24 Responses to It’s Not Funny! Getting Shocked by Electric Fence

  1. avatar Lmejia1968 says:

    Mr. Duncan, I would like to take advantage of your experience at electric fence trade shows. Please, advise me on the main ones in the USA. Because of my work, I do need to become more illustrated on electric fences. Also, I would appreciate it, if you let me know of any books on this subject ?.
    As to the unwanted electric shocks from fences, they are not funny at all, but could be very dangerous under special circumstances. Remember that the heart could get out of its regular frequency, if just a few milliampers of current go through it.

  2. avatar Gduncan08 says:

    Hello and thank you for your comments.
    First, in order to offer information on trade shows, it would be helpful to know what part of the US you live in. Additionally, it might be good for you to contact the Manufacturers of Energizers in the USA. Ask them what trade shows they will be attending this year. Most companies are in process right now to choose which trade shows they will participate in for next year.
    As for books, there really isnt much, pertaining stricktly to energizers. Most of the larger companies will have fencing manuals that cover the basics, but they will not go into detail on the actual operation and design of energizers.
    In general, I personally, beleive that Modern Day fence chargers are very safe, expecially since the introduction of the Low Impedance energizers. The older High Impedance ones had a very long duration of a pulse. The on-time of the pulse was very long compared to modern day ones. To be considered Low Impedance the pulse duration must be under 3/1000′s of a second. Most are well under that.
    Unfortunately, there is not an International Standard for energizers that i am aware of. Each country will have their own individual standards for testing. In the USA, I beleive