Town of Deer Trail considering hunting licenses for unmanned aerial vehicles, bounties for drones

'They fly in town, they get shot down,' man says

DEER TRAIL, Colo. - The small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering a bold move. The town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Deer Trail resident, Phillip Steel, drafted the ordinance.

"We do not want drones in town," said Steel. "They fly in town, they get shot down." 

Even though it's against the law to destroy federal property, Steel's proposed ordinance outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques, and bounties for drone hunting.

 The ordinates 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."

7NEWS Reporter Amanda Kost asked Steel, "Have you ever seen a drone flying over your town?"

"No," Steel responded. "This is a very symbolic ordinance. Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way."

If passed by the town board, Deer Trail would charge $25 for drone hunting licenses, valid for one year.

"They'll sell like hot cakes, and it would be a real drone hunting license," said Steel, "It could be a huge moneymaker for the town."

Deer Trail resident, David Boyd, is also one of seven votes on the town board.  

"Even if a tiny percentage of people get online (for a) drone license, that's cool. That's a lot of money to a small town like us,"said Boyd. "Could be known for it as well, which probably might be a mixed blessing, but what the heck?" 

The board will consider the drone hunting ordinance on Aug. 6.  

"I'm leaning towards yes," said Boyd. "I'm good with passing it as long as it's safe."

The ordinance specifies that weapons used for engagement of unmanned aerial vehicles would be limited to, "any shotgun, 12 gauge or smaller, having a barrel length of 18 inches or greater."  Drone hunting licenses would be issued without a background investigation, and on an anonymous basis. Applicants would have to be at least 21 years old and be able to, "read and understand English."

Deer Trail, Town clerk, Kim Oldfield said, "I can see it as a benefit, monetarily speaking, because of the novelty of the ordinance."

Oldfield said there's talk of promoting the ordinance as a novelty and, "Possibly hunting drones in a skeet, fun-filled festival. We’re the home of the world’s first rodeo, so we could home of the world’s first drone hunt." 

"If they were to read it for the title alone and not for the novelty and what it really is, it sounds scary, and it sounds super vigilante and frightening," said Oldfield. "The real idea behind it is it’s a potential fun, moneymaker, and it could be really cool for our community and we’ve needed something to bring us together, and this could be it."

7NEWS asked Deer Trail Mayor, Franks Fields, if he wanted the town to be known for drone hunting.

"Well, I don't know," answered Fields. "I haven't made my decision yet."

"It's all novelty. Do a little drone fest, get people to come out, have fun," Fields explained.

Said Steel, "To him it's a novelty, yes. To me, I'm serious."