Want a License to Hunt Drones? This Colorado Town Just Might Give You One

The Federal Aviation Administration is not pleased

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Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A small drone helicopter operated by a paparazzi records singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter (not seen) as she rides the Cyclone rollercoaster while filming a music video on Coney Island in New York August 29, 2013.

Things you can hunt that begin with the letter “D” for $200, Alex: ducks, deer, doves…drones? If the residents of a small Colorado town about an hour east of Denver vote to make it so next month, then yep, drones, too.

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Deer Trail, Colo. residents are already lining up for permits, reports Reuters, apparently keen to blast unmanned aerial vehicles out of the sky. Town clerk Kim Oldfield said the whole thing started when resident Phillip Steel, worried that the country’s becoming “a surveillance society,” pitched the idea of issuing permits to hunt drones as a way to protest their rise (hypothetically anyway) on the national scene.

That led town trustees to decide last month that the question warranted a public vote. And once the decision to put it to a vote was reached, applications for the $25 permits began pouring in — not just from Deer Trail residents, says Oldfield, but everywhere, including a few from folks living in the U.K. and Canada.

“I stopped counting when it hit 985,” Oldfield told Reuters. Deer Trail’s population was 546 as of the 2010 census.

Not that anyone’s looking to pick off a bunch of unmanned vehicles, says Oldfield, noting that those in favor of the drone-hunting permits want to stage a contest — basically a skeet shoot using drones in lieu of clay disks — which could promote tourism and allow the city to reap a little extra revenue.

Still, the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t amused, issuing a note last summer when the ball started rolling pretty much warning people to keep their weapons holstered if a drone happens by, permit or no. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane,” said the government agency.

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