Colorado town mulls issuing licenses to shoot down drones

DENVER Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:10pm EDT

Related Topics

DENVER (Reuters) - The farming and ranching town of Deer Trail, Colorado, which boasts that it held the world's first rodeo in 1869, is now considering starting a 21st century tradition - paying bounties to anyone who shoots down an unmanned drone.

Next month, trustees of the town of 600 that lies on the high plains 55 miles east of Denver will debate an ordinance that would allow residents to purchase a $25 hunting license to shoot down "unmanned aerial vehicles."

Similar to the bounties governments once paid to hunters who killed animals that preyed on livestock, but only after they produced the ears, the town would pay $100 to anyone who can produce the fuselage and tail of a downed drone.

"Either the nose or tail may be damaged, but not both," the proposal notes.

The measure was crafted by resident Phillip Steel, a 48-year-old Army veteran with a master's degree in business administration, who acknowledges the whimsical nature of his proposal.

But the expansion of drones for commercial and government use is alarming, he said.

"We don't want to become a surveillance society," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He said he has not seen any drones, but that "some local ranchers" outside the town limits have seen them.

Under the proposal, hunters could legally shoot down a drone flying under 1,000 feet with a 12-gauge or smaller shotgun.

The town also would be required to establish a drone "recognition program" for shooters to properly identify the targeted aircraft.

"In no case shall a citizen engage an obviously manned aerial vehicle," the draft proposal reads.

Steel said that if the town trustees don't vote to adopt the ordinance, it will go before voters in a special election.

"Yes, it is tongue-in-cheek, but I'm going to vote for it," said Dorothy Pisel, one of the town's trustees. "It could benefit the town with all the publicity."

Steel acknowledges his idea is symbolic but he hopes it will curtail the use of drones over the 1.1-square mile burg.

"If you don't want your drone to go down, don't fly it in town," he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately have a comment.

(Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Phil Berlowitz)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (15)
Big2Tex wrote:
I think the operator of the drone should also have a bounty placed on him/her. Now that is justice and a whole lot of fun too. Stand your ground…..we are all George Zimmerman.

Jul 17, 2013 10:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RotorRob wrote:
How long before the feds overstep their authority and make it illegal!!!

Jul 18, 2013 2:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
I see the town as setting itself up for some serious liability issues with this ordinance. The town can not indiscriminately pass laws and offer bounties for destruction of private property such a drone owned by a surveying company. I don’t think the government would take kindly to having one of their million dollar drones shot down. I also think Federal and State aviation regulatory angencies’ authority supercede any laws passed by the town. But when you think of the chances of knocking down a drone with a 410 shotgun from a 1000 feet you realize someone has a sense of humor. Maybe with a 12 guage loaded with buckshot and the plane is well below the 1000 ft. level. The permits are only good within the city’s jurisdiction. So you would have firearms being discharged within the city limits. How is that going to work? Hi Tech meets O.K. CORRAL, available soon for your XBOX. Next phase will be the drone operators arming their drones for a “stand your ground” defense.

Jul 18, 2013 2:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures