This article was originally published by watchdog.org.
TheÂ Deer TrailÂ Town Board is considering a hunting season on drones, complete with a bounty on provable kills.
In addition to raising awareness of the surveillance state, the town might be offering Coloradans an affordable hunting opportunity at â€”Â $25 â€”Â only aÂ fraction of the costÂ of most otherÂ ColoradoÂ hunting licenses.
No word yet if drone barbecues will become part of the tradition after a successful hunt.
Drone hunters would be limited to using shotguns, and would earn a $100 bounty if they can present â€œidentifiable 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.â€
The ordinanceâ€™s author, Deer Trail resident Philip Steel,Â tellsÂ ABC 7 NewsÂ he has never seen a drone in Deer Trail, and that the ordinance is a symbolic against the surveillance state and intended as a novelty revenue stream.
The ordinance calls for a Deer Trail â€œunmanned aerial vehicle recognition program,â€ to help hunters bag the right vehicles, and keep from shooting down piloted aircraft. Another thoughtful provision allows residents who feel they are being followed by drones to shoot them down, even without a hunting license.
So far, theÂ Federal Aviation AdministrationÂ would not offer Colorado Watchdog comment.
Helpful as the ordinance would be in controlling federal drones, most of the drone privacy abuses in America have occurred on behalf of local governments.
Kim Oldfield, Deer Trailâ€™s clerk and treasurer, assured Colorado Watchdog that shooting down drones from state and municipal governments is still in the spirit of the ordinance, and drone hunters would be encouraged to shoot down state and municipal drones with equal enthusiasm.
â€œWe are concerned about all types of drones,â€ she said.
North Dakota has the dubious distinction of making theÂ first recorded arrest with the aid of a Predator Drone, used by the local police. As early as 2005, police in the town of La Plata, Md., wereÂ using drones to spy on bikers at a rally, just scanning for illegal activity.
The Gaston County (N.C.) Police Department conducted a drone program without the permission of the Federal Aviation Administration.Â FAA pressure has grounded itÂ for about the past five years.
At least four organizationsÂ alreadyÂ have been granted permission to operate drones in the Centennial State. The FAA is secretive about whom it has allowed to fly drones across the United States, but theÂ Electronic Frontier FoundationÂ gained the droneauthorization list of 2011 and 2012Â after a lengthy lawsuit.
Two of the drones operating in Colorado airspace are weather measuring devices owned by theÂ University of ColoradoÂ Boulderâ€™s â€œResearch & Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehiclesâ€ (yes, they have one), and another is an Air Force drone intended for theÂ Pinon Canyon Military Operations Area.
But the last one isÂ owned by a local law enforcement agency. TheÂ Mesa County Sherriffâ€™s OfficeÂ got permission to use a drone for search and rescue operations, and the vaguely defined purpose of â€œreconnaissance in support of law enforcement operations.â€
We recommend the Deer Trail Town Board include an exception to the ordinance to respect the airspace of the recently developedÂ pizza delivery drones.
Contact Calvin Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @watchdogco.