Drone-hunting permits may be more symbolic than practical, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of residents in Deer Trail, Colo. from applying for one.
The phenomenon started with a proposed ballot initiative by activist Phil Steel, which would make it legal to shoot down drones in the area. Voters have yet to approve the initiative — the election is slated for October — but about 1,000 would-be drone hunters have already applied for a license.
Said Steel, “We do not want drones in town. They fly in town, they get shot down.”
It remains unclear whether any drones have been spotted in Deer Trail, or if residents expect to see any drones in the future.
Although Steel is currently selling permits for $25, they only serve as a novelty. He has reportedly donated a portion of the proceeds to the town.
According to permit rules, hunters will receive a $100 bounty for bringing in the remains of any felled drone “known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.”
Along with Colorado residents, people as far as Britain and Canada are applying for permits from Deer Trail, said clerk Kim Oldfield. She claims that the initiative is more about bringing attention (and income) to the town and raising awareness about gun rights than about actual drone hunting.
Said Oldfield, "Our intention is really not to allow people to shoot things out of the sky."
Some Deer Trail residents imagine some sort of festival built around drone hunting, which would draw in tourists, or shooting contests in which participants shoot model airplanes or other remote-control flying objects.
Even if Deer Trail does allow "real" drone hunting, any eager marksmen will still need to contend with the federal government, which has already issued a warning against shooting unmanned aircrafts.