The Conversation

CO Town Considering Hunting Licenses To Shoot Down Federal Drones, Offering Bounties

DEER TRAIL, Colo. - The town board of Deer Trail, Colorado, will soon be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licences and also offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles. A local resident, Philip Steel, drafted the ordinance which outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques, and bounties for drone hunting. 

Although it's against the law to destroy federal property, Steel said, "We don't want drones in town. They fly in town, they get shot down." 

The ordinance states: 

The Town of Deer Trail shall issue a reward of $100 to any shooter who presents a valid hunting license and the following identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.

Steel told a local reporter that he had never seen a drone flying overhead and that the ordinance was primarily symbolic because he does not "believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and [he believes} we are heading that way." 

Should the ordinance pass the board, the town would charge $25 for a one year drone hunting license.  The licenses would be issued on an anonymous basis without background checks. Applicants would have to be 21 years of age and able to "read and understand English." 

Some board members believe that the novelty of the drone hunting license could attract a lot of attention to the town and sales could potentially be a lucrative revenue stream. 

Kim Oldfield, town clerk, sees dollars signs, "possibly hunting drones in a skeet, fun-filled festival. We’re the home of the world’s first rodeo, so we could [be the] home of the world’s first drone hunt." 

Weapons would be limited to shotguns only - 12 gauge or smaller.  When a local news reporter asked if it was even possible to shoot down a drone with a shotgun, a supporter of the ordinance said, "no, it's not possible." Thus making the ordinance even more symbolic. 

Deer Trail boasts a population of 500. 




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