Colorado town rejects drone hunting proposal


(Greg Goebel / Flickr)

You won't be able to hunt drones in Colorado after all. On April Fools' Day, the residents of Deer Trail voted down a proposal to issue official licenses to "drone hunters," conceived as a protest against surveillance and a way to draw tourists to the tiny town. According to The Denver Post, 73 percent of the 181 people who cast ballots (the town has roughly 350 registered voters and a population of under 600) opposed the measure, which would have issued licenses to shoot down drones for $25.

Deer Trail made the news in mid-2013 when resident Philip Steel proposed offering drone hunting licenses and an up to $100 bounty on federal unmanned aircraft. Steel called the proposal "symbolic," but others suggested publicity stunts like drone-themed skeet shooting in order to put Deer Trail on the map. "Let this town make a little money, otherwise it's going to sit here and die," Mayor Frank Fields told FOX 31. Regardless of intent, the federal government unsurprisingly warned that shooting a drone was illegal, saying it "could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane." And some residents called Steel's measure embarrassing for Deer Trail.

A confluence of these factors led a vote on the rule to be delayed several times, but it's now been settled for good. Mayor Fields, who supported the drone-hunting ordinance, was also voted out of office. The FAA is currently in the process of certifying commercial drones for flight in US airspace, with operators at six test sites carrying out preliminary work on the project. And if you're worried about them taking to the skies, moving to Colorado is no longer a panacea.

The Verge
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