Colorado town ponders bounty for shooting down drones

The farming and ranching town of Deer Trail, Colorado, is considering paying bounties to anyone who shoots down a drone.

Next month, trustees of the town of 600 that lies on the high plains, 55 miles (34km) east of Denver, will debate an ordinance that would allow residents to buy a $25 hunting licence to shoot down “unmanned aerial vehicles”.

Governments once paid bounties to hunters who killed animals that preyed on livestock, but only after they produced the ears. Similarly, the town would pay $100 to anyone who could produce the fuselage and tail of a downed drone.

“Either the nose or tail may be damaged, but not both,” the proposal notes.

The measure was crafted by resident Phillip Steel, a 48-year-old army veteran with a master’s degree in business administration, who acknowledges the whimsical nature of his proposal. But the expansion ofdrones for commercial and government use was alarming, he said.

“We don’t want to become a surveillance society,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He said he had not seen any drones, but that “some local ranchers” outside the town limits had.

Under the proposal, hunters could legally shoot down a drone flying under 1,000 feet with a 12-gauge or smaller shotgun.

The town would also be required to establish a drone “recognition programme” for shooters to properly identify the targeted aircraft.

“In no case shall a citizen engage an obviously manned aerial vehicle,” the draft proposal reads.

Steel said that if the town trustees did not vote to adopt the ordinance, it would go before voters in a special election.

“Yes, it is tongue-in-cheek, but I’m going to vote for it,” said Dorothy Pisel, one of the town’s trustees. “It could benefit the town with all the publicity.”

Steel acknowledges his idea is symbolic, but he hopes it will curtail the use of drones over the area.

“If you don’t want your drone to go down, don’t fly it in town,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately have a comment.

source: Guardian UK

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