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US town mulls bounty on spy drones, English-speaking gunman only

'They fly in town, they get shot down' – and the shooter gets $100

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In back-woods America the government isn't too popular, but the tiny town of Deer Trail, Colorado (population 546 – deer not included) may be taking this sentiment to extremes with a proposal to open an official hunting season on government drones.

"We do not want drones in town," said the proposed ordinance's author David Steel told ABC7. "They fly in town, they get shot down."

Under the proposed ordinance, applicants who are over 21 and can speak English will be able to buy a one-year drone hunting permit for $25 – and these can be purchased anonymously so the government won't know who's doing the hunting. Down an unmanned drone and the town will pay you $100, or less depending on how much wreckage hunters recover.

Lest you think this is a half-cocked suggestion, the hunting licenses do have their restrictions. Weaponry is limited to a "shotgun, 12 gauge or smaller with a barrel length of 18 inches or greater" and firing lead, steel, or depleted uranium shot. "Glass, salt, flechette, ball, slug, sabot, bolo, and exploding ammunition may not be used," it reads.

The bounty only counts for unmanned drones owned by the government, and the shooting down of recreational remote-control aeroplanes is prohibited if the operator is clearly visible and within 1000 feet of the target. Any drones flying at over 1,000 feet are also off limits.

There is, however, one small problem. No one has ever seen a government drone flying over the town. "This is a very symbolic ordinance," said Steel. "Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way."

Town clerk Kim Oldfield said that the idea has merit, could bring Deer Trail much-needed revenue and possibly spur interest in the town, and would be a "fun-filled" event that could attract shooters from all over the US.

"Possibly hunting drones in a skeet, fun-filled festival. We're the home of the world's first rodeo, so we could home of the world's first drone hunt," Oldfield said.

El Reg would also suggest one other problem behind the plan, if it goes ahead: gravity. Blasting metal into the skies might look like fun, but what comes up must come down, and we hope Deer Trail residents don't get brained by falling shot. ®

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