Colorado's Drone Wars

The town of Deer Trail could to be headed to a community-wide vote on whether to approve drone-hunting licenses.
August 8 2013, 10:00 AM

Despite a warning from the Federal Aviation Administrations and questions about the town’s sanity, the tiny eastern Colorado community of Deer Trail could be headed to a vote that might end in residents approval of drone-hunting licenses and bounties.

The town’s council deadlocked in a 3-3 vote this week about whether to approve the licenses, which means the issue could move to a community-wide vote in November. According to The Denver Post, though, some town officials are worried whether Deer Trail could absorb the costs of a special election.

If approved, the license would cost $25 and be valid for a year. Of course—since it’s illegal to destroy federal property—it’d be a purely symbolic measure that likely is more about attracting attention, and some cash, for the town. Not that the FAA is laughing: Officials with the government agency issued a statement in July saying that people could be prosecuted or fined if they shoot at a drone.

The original ordinance read: “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 ordinance also says that shooting drones would be limited to “any shotgun, 12-gauge or smaller, having a barrel length of 18 inches or greater.” Among the requirements to be eligible for a license, an applicant needs to be at least 21 years old and has to “read and understand English.”

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock