Colorado Won't Be Issuing Drone Hunting Permits, After All

Colorado Won't Be Issuing Drone Hunting Permits, After All

Sorry, Coloradans. Despite the national press attention and evident demand, the measure to introduce drone hunting permits in the tiny town of Deer Trail has been rejected by voters. It wasn't even close.

All things told, 181 out of Deer Trail's 348 resident cast a ballot on Tuesday, 73 percent of whom were against the drone hunting permit. It probably didn't help that the federal government said it's illegal to shoot down drones. Then again, putting the drone hunting measure on the ballot was always meant to be a protest against government surveillance, its backers say, and not an actual proposition.

Well, a protest is a good way to get the word out, but it's also a good way to alienate voters, apparently: Deer Trail residents also voted Mayor Frank Fields out of office on Tuesday, locals say. Why? Because he supported the drone hunting permits.

All that, and the NSA's still spying on everyone. Well, at least you can still smoke pot legally in Deer Trail. You can get high, but you can't shoot down UFOs. America's getting weird, man. [Denver Post]

Pending approvalOriginal post by Adam Clark Estes on Gizmodo

Demand for Drone Hunting Licenses Overwhelms Tiny Colorado Town

Demand for Drone Hunting Licenses Overwhelms Tiny Colorado Town

Back in July, everybody chuckled a little over Deer Trail, Colorado's half-baked plan to issue drone hunting licenses and pay a bounty to any sharp shooter who bagged a flying robot. Some took the opportunity pretty seriously, though, leading to over a thousand applications and a big headache for city hall.

What a successful new program! Well, not so fast. Deer Trail hasn't even passed the ordinance for the drone hunting licenses proposed earlier in the summer, so they don't actually have anything to give the hunter hopefuls who sent checks for the $25 license fee. Deer Trail's town clerk Kim Oldfield told The Denver Post this week that she stopped counting the incoming applications for the non-existent license two weeks ago, after she'd received 983 checks worth some $19,000. Now, she's just throwing the letters into a pile.

It's unclear what happens from here. The last vote on the ordinance was a 3-to-3 tie, and the measure will now go to voters. Even if the voters do give it the greenlight, the drone license is potentially illegal, since it's against the law to destroy federal property. This is all assuming that Phil Steel, the town resident who proposed the ordinance, was actually serious about this from the beginning. In interviews with the local news, Steel admitted that he'd never seen a drone flying over the town and called the measure "a very symbolic ordinance."

For Steel, it's also a very profitable ordinance. After gaining national media exposure when introducing the ordinance, Steel started selling souvenir drone hunting licenses and has so far pocketed at least $2,500, part of which he donated to the town. I guess the rest is going to go towards ammunition to shoot down the non-existent drones over Deer Trail. Because this is America. [Denver Post via TechEye]