Duck hunting, deer hunting, and new drone hunting. The small town of Deer Trail in eastern Colorado has begun officially issuing drone hunting licenses after passing a controversial ordinance this week.
The town is also considering offering monetary rewards for anybody who’s able to shoot down a drone and provide proof.
Phillip Steel, the resident who wrote the ordinance, stated, "We don't want a surveillance society here."
He argued that the presence of surveillance drones would allow certain groups to become too powerful and they would intrude on public privacy. He also admitted that he had never personally seen a drone. "Right now we don't have drones flying in our skies, great," he said. "We want to keep it that way."
Deer Trail Mayor Frank Fields added, “Using it against terrorists is okay, but we don't need to be using it in our little towns, peeking in windows and stuff."
Fields, who takes the concept less seriously than Steel, admitted that the ordinance was somewhat “tongue-and-cheek [sic].” The licenses, which sell at $25 a pop, help the city bring in revenue and news from the story might increase tourism to the small town.
Others aren’t convinced that open season on US drones is a good idea. Chris Miser, a small business owner, argued, “Why would you want to point a gun in the air and shoot it straight up is comical to me, especially inside city limits."
It’s hard to imagine why anybody would want to use drone surveillance on a rural town of 548 people. If somebody ever does shoot down a drone, however, that could easily lead to sticky legal situations. Can a city ordinance override a person’s right to property by allowing random people to destroy privately-owned items? Is a person’s drone still a free target if he flies it exclusively above his own property? How are hunters supposed to be able to tell whether or not a drone is equipped with surveillance technology?
It’s also fairly optimistic to assume that the federal government or a company that’s rich enough to attempt widespread drone surveillance would roll over in compliance with a town ordinance.
Do you think that the drone hunting licenses are a good idea?