The small town of Deer Trail, Colorado recently made the national news when they proposed a town ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
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.” The proposed ordinance states the following:
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.
While I agree with the sentiment of the ordinance and I understand that it’s intended to be symbolic, the ordinance does present a couple problems.
First off, it’s illegal to destroy federal property, as Mr. Steel and the town board members well know. Should the federal government be allowed to fly drones over our heads and spy on us? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t change the fact that destroying federal property is against the law. Something to be aware of.
Second, if you think you’re going to grab your shotgun or rifle and shoot down a drone flying overhead, I’d say you’ve been watching too much TV. The fact is that there aren’t many (if any) UAVs used by the federal government that fly low enough to even be in range. The UAVs used by police departments…well that’s a different story, but not covered by this ordinance. If you do happen to spot a drone, the only thing you’re likely to accomplish by shooting at it is to make yourself a target.
So if it’s illegal and virtually impossible to accomplish, what’s this ordinance all about? Money.
“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?”
It seems to me that this ordinance is all about raising revenue, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t think you’re going to see a new shooter job market for drone hunters open up anytime soon.
You can read more here.