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Colorado town considers drone hunting licenses


July 18, 2013

US Government drones may not be welcome in Deer Trail, Colorado come Aug. 6

US Government drones may not be welcome in Deer Trail, Colorado come Aug. 6

Deer Trail, Colorado (population 600 or so) is to vote on a local ordinance that would allow drone hunting licenses and bounties for shooting down UAVs, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

Those with a valid drone hunting license will be rewarded US$100 if they present "identifiable parts" of UAVs "known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government," the draft ordinance states.

"We do not want drones in town," local Phillip Steel, who came up with the draft, tells KMGH-TV. "They fly in town, they get shot down."

If passed, the ordinance would see one-year drone hunting licenses sell for $25, and there's talk of a novelty drone-hunting festival to boost tourism.

To Steel it's a serious issue, however. "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."

The town board is set to vote on the ordinance on Aug. 6.

See KMGH-TV's report for the full story.

Source: KMGH-TV

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

There are two basic types of "drones" for this discussion. Military drones (small unmanned aircraft flying too high to even be noticed, yet able to read the ads in your paper over your shoulder as you have your coffee on the deck, and the "quadcopter type, that must by FAA regulation fly at under 400ft AGL. Those, are well inside easy shotgun range. In addition to being used by law enforcement to snoop without a warrant, (one was shot down by the home owner, when the drone scared her nearly to death). She then calls the cops to report it, and was informed that it had been theirs. (They were operating without a permit, and in the wrong yard.)

They are also being used by animal Rights groups to harass legal hunters, and disrupt group hunts.

I am conflicted in my views of how to proceed. It is a violation of safe shooting practice, to shoot any gun, or even a bow and arrow, skyward, because you must be sure of your target and what is beyond your target in-line to where the shot lands. However, the use of drones is both invasive, and harassing. They are a clear violation of my privacy, and are destructive, to my hunting. so I can not tolerate their presence. Everything I hunt, we eat.

Shotgun, is the proper weapon for drone removal, with about #6 shot, same as used for rabbits and game birds like pheasants, and not slugs. Shot spreads out for a better chance of a hit, so most likely one shot, and sheds velocity faster, and therefore shorter range. It would be about as safe as pheasant shooting, which unless you are in politics (Cheney) is quite safe. effective range would be roughly 100yds, depending on the ammo selected, and the length of the barrel. While destruction of Government property is illegal, "The Tenth Amendment (Amendment X) to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791.[1] The Tenth Amendment states the Constitution's principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or the people." should provide protection to a State sponsored drone hunt, but I don't know about a township, or city level hunt. Consult a lawyer or ten about that.

It is well within the abilities of the average hunter to take them down in a quick, safe, and professional manner. But it angers me greatly, that I may have to remove trespassers and vandals.


As much as I approve of the sentiments of the town, short of using shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, there is no simple way to knock a drone out of the sky.

Offering "hunting licenses" encourages knuckleheads to shoot rifles in the air. That never ends well. Especially since they haven't any idea how to discriminate between a drone and some adventurous soul in an ultra-light.


I agree with flink, I wonder how many ultralight pilots would be shot down by some one on the ground thinking they are a drone. This is in addition to how many remote controlled planes and helicopters that might get shot down by some one thinking it was a drone.

While I think it is creepy to have a drone watching us, I doubt they are all used to spy on people. I can see drones being used in search and rescue. If one of these are shot down, the life or lives of those it was sent to look for is at risk.

I guess one could tell the home of a drone hunter by the nose cone and landing gear of a drone being on their wall their deer hunters have heads and hoofs of deer they hunted.


@flink: I'm sure a drone can easily be brought down with small arms fire. We're not talking about million dollar military drones here like that pictured. The real issue is what happens when the drone crashes on someone's house or worse?

There are a lot of problems with this ordinance, but I like its style.


Drones are a danger to commercial and private air traffic. That was a stupid idea to begin with. Yes, shoot them down. We need a whole new class of weapons to do so. this could create millions of jobs.


What a bunch of morons! Not only are they drawing unwanted (?) attention to themselves with this idiotic move, but they're kidding themselves if they think drones are a bigger threat to their privacy than the massive number of security cameras that are basically ubiquitous all over our society. In terms of privacy, drones should be among the very, very least of our concerns.


I love how they are trying to make destruction of private and public property legal. Not to mention all of the formentioned logistical issues in regard to safety. This has to be one of the dumbest laws ever considered.


So, any yahoo with $25 can now legally fire projectiles into the air with absolute no regard to where resulting airborne projectiles land (say on a nearby school). The next logical step is to shoot stationary surveillance cameras, and after that anyone who might be suspected as a "government eavesdropper". A fine line between civil liberties and anarchy indeed.


They don't have a right to be judge jury and executioner and they are overstepping their authority.

How many drones "known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government" are they expecting to be flown over their town of 600 people anyway?

You are talking about giving permission to anyone with weapons without having to call any centralized command for permission to fire on overhead aircraft. This will go well about the day Jennifer Lawrence lifts my restraining order and starts returning my phone calls.


Silverbird, I understand your statement, but you seem to miss the point of laws. This law requires you to have a hunting permit before you can shoot down a drone. It doesn't make anything legal.

That said if a town wanted to make dumping garbage on the side of the road illegal, they have that right. If the town wanted to pass a law that said anyone who removes trash from the side of the road would be rewarded, that would be legal. One could argue that the person is stealing the trash that belonged to someone else, but the law is the law.

Instead of considering a drone as an expensive government tool, consider it trash that some people put in the air. So removing that trash would be permitted if the town deemed it so.


There is possibly some confusion as to what constitutes a "drone". I suspect shooting down a multi-million dollar Reaper type military drone, i.e. a small unmanned aircraft would be frowned upon, with or without a licence. However, small, sophisticated, radio controlled, camera-equipped, model helicopters or quadcopters wandering about over one's property and hovering over buildings or outside windows, without very good reason, should be fair game, in my opinion. Whereas a Reaper would probably require a shoulder launched or Rapier-type ground-to-air missile to bring it down with the inevitable consequences for the innocent bystanders (as pointed out above), a 12-bore shotgun, or even a decent catapult, should be able to bring down one of those irritating toys. This could be a new sport in the making. Roll on 2020 Olympics....


Just curious how a local council law can overrule a federal law? Wouldn't shooting down a drone owned by the US Fed Govt. be an act of terrorism? Or at the very least vandalism against the Fed Govt.?

Luke Parsons

@Mantion: "Instead of considering a drone as an expensive government tool, consider it trash that some people put in the air. So removing that trash would be permitted if the town deemed it so."

Wow there. So, for you, renaming something into "trash" is enough to be able to get rid of it? Good to know.

Rokdun Johnson

It is a symbolic gesture the town counsel does not really expect anybody to buy a drone hunting license. (not that they are apposed to taking the money from any fool that does) If the average British subject had considered it their patriotic duty to vandalize the CCTV cameras when they first started going up there would not be city counsels trying to put them into peoples homes.


....and Americans still wonder why the rest of the world thinks they are irresponsible, self-obsessed, gun-totin' yahoo rednecks. Keep serving up the evidence, guys!

Readout Noise

Nice Idea, Does anyone want to buy my free flying, automated drone "disabling" system, we can have war of the drones over Deer Trail, Colorado...

I'm everyone has missed the fact: The Town of Deer Trail, has no Jurisdiction over its airspace, that is controlled by the FAA. If you start shooting down aircraft (even unmanned ones), that will be a federal criminal offence (no little fine for that one). (Even if the Sheriff shoots one down, he will be prosecuted once ATSB is done with the wreckage.)

Bloggers, and interested contributors, there is no distinction between RC aircraft and "Drones" (UAV/UAS etc.) only their purpose/intent is different...

PS. I agree that the less surveillance the better, why hasn't every freedom loving citizen in every country shot up all sped cameras, video surveillance units, etc, since they first appeared... The government in NO country has the right to assume the citizenry is guilty without due process, and NO right to delegate law enforcement to DRONES (as in speed cameras or automated ticketing of any form, more correct term, as in the animal kingdom).

What do I care. What is, is.


I agree with the general sentiment, but really???

In addition to some of the other reasons presented here (light aircraft being shot down, small arms being unlikely to take down a drone), drones, while smaller than most manned aircraft, are not small, made of metal, and traveling reasonably fast. Assuming one of these yahoos manages to take down a drone, unless they atomize it it's going to cause substantial damage wherever it lands.

Joseph Young

A new application for model-rocketry enthusiasts? Wonder what damage could be done to a drone with a well-aimed rocket powered by a couple of E/F sized engines... "Oops, sorry FAA, but that drone was invisible & unheard when I launched..."

Richard Dinerman

I absolutely hate drones. If I were to shoot one down would I be charged with making an obscene drone fall?


Its a Joke people..Lighten Up..They just want the world to know that they value our privacy ,that is quickly slipping away,and that is the quick way for a small town to be heard..Hats off Steel

Roger Aikins

Aw Hell, let 'em have their fun.

Dave Ussery

Besides being utterly idiotic, isn't it illegal to destroy government property?


Chill out. This is a protest and a good one. It doesn't legalize shooting down other aircraft. It's meant to protect your right to privacy and unlawful government intrusion in your lives that could result in its shooting rockets at you.


Much more reasonable responses than I expected. How do you tell a govt drone from another. Are all unmanned aircraft eligible. I foresee a gun fight in Deer County between the hobbyist and the man in the tin foil hat.

Why single out drones? What about traffic stops/ DUI check points? Surveillance cameras? GPS Trackers? License Plate readers?

Lots of gun play (ha-ha even more is what I mean) on the horizon in Deer County.


about the concerns for safety when guns are shot into the air..... what do you think duck and other bird hunters are doing? i don't recall any bruhaha about duck hunters showering the neighborhood with either pellets or dead ducks.

my fellow americans, please don't put this idea into the trash bin. remember, we have a central government originally created to protect us. when they no longer do that, and in fact, turn against us, it's high time to take a stand.

wasn't it 'illegal' to dump tea into the water 'way back when? it worked then, it'll work now.

shoot them metal birds!


I agree with Slowburn and MD.

I would add that no permit would be needed to defend right to privacy.

And for those who are worried about the rare problems from falling debris, you can sue the drone launcher.

Don Duncan

There is stupidity on both sides. And nether can control it!


There are 1000mW+ laser pointers in the world....now all we need is an automated tracking/aiming system....


re; Tokenn

Aside from eyes 1 watt lasers are close to harmless unless you are building a phased array.


@sk8dad - I agree with you that if privacy is a concern they need a "hunting" permit on a great deal more gadgets than "drones". CCTV cameras that are ip connected to anywhere the internet goes, mobile phones that have cameras, especially smartphones, any kind of wearable camera, the list is pretty much endless. These days any time you are not behind closed doors and windows with carefully "bug" proofed areas you have to assume at least one yahoo with a camera is recording you, and that it will wind up on the internet. People are afraid of these drones and things like Google glass, but they have already forfeited the right to privacy when they permitted camera phones to become ubiquitous. Now that smartphones are so prevalent augmented reality is also a reality so the scariest parts of Google glass are already here glass just makes it more ubiquitous. As far as clandestine recording there are already better gadgets for that Glass is very obvious compared to some readily available devices. So overall this law is just childish. It claims to be a measure to protect privacy but does nothing whatsoever to protect privacy and it provide a legal reason to shoot heavy ordinance in the air. I’ve seen the bird hunter’s statements about using bird shot. Most of the unmanned aerial vehicles I’ve seen available for commercial sale wouldn’t be brought down by birdshot as they would be flying too high or the vitals are too little space inside the thing for a pellet or two to take it down. Then there is the question of how to differentiate hobbyist vehicles from drones. Just because it flies and doesn’t have a pilot doesn’t mean it is a “drone”.


Everyone seems to miss one important here. Drones are available technology that anyone with the dollar resources can obtain. Right now the U.S. government is the only user in North America, but that could change very quickly as police departments, corporations, and private armies start to adopt them for their own use.

If you are going to outlaw drones and offer a bounty, you should do it for any drone, not just for drones from the U.S. government.

Michael Chazin

This type of gimmick will generate some pocket money for a little town desperate for attention. Good Luck.


What's so bad about surveillance? Many criminals have been caught by CCTV. What these people don't like is laws and taxes.

Paul Nash

I wonder if out of state licenses will be available ,how much they cost, and how long the season will be?

They could limit the damage by requiring that the maximum load would be 12 gauge mag with #6 shot and only shot guns with #6 shot be allowed. That would take out the peeping tom drones but put the military drones out of range.



Some drones can shoot back.

Dan Mosel
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