A small Colorado town is considering whether to issue hunting licenses that would offer residents a bounty for shooting down unnamed drones operated by the U.S. government.
Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel told KMGH that he had already collected enough signatures to put his proposed measure on the ballot.
“We do not want drones in town,” Steel explained. “They fly in town, they get shot down.”
Steele’s proposed ordinance specifically outlines the rules for drone hunting.
“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,” the measure states.
To qualify for the $100 bounty, hunters would have to present a whole or nearly intact drone. But drone parts would be worth $25.
Although Steel admits that he has not seen a drone flying over Deer Trail, Customs and Border Protection does fly Predator drones on surveillance missions over the U.S. border. Those drones come at a cost of about $18 million each — and the destruction of federal property is against the law.
Steel’s proposed ordinance requires that applicants “read and understand English” and be at least 21 years old. Applicants would be anonymous and no background application would be required.
Hunters, however, would be limited to using “any shotgun, 12 gauge or smaller, having a barrel length of 18 inches or greater.”
KMGH’s Amanda Kost asked Mayor Frank Fields if it was even possible to shoot down a drone with a shotgun.
“No, it’s not possible,” Fields admitted. “We don’t intend to paying none of that out. Unless we get lucky.”
But members of the town board think that they could cash in by selling licenses to drone-hunting tourists.
“I can see it as a benefit, monetarily speaking, because of the novelty of the ordinance,” town clerk Kim Oldfield pointed out.
“Drone hunting days, exactly, you know, like shooting clay pigeons and stuff, but we’ll call it drone practice,” town board trustee David Boyd remarked.
Watch this video from KMGH, broadcast July 16, 2013.