Colorado town mulls drone hunts

Plan would award $100 bounty for shooters who bring in debris from unmanned aircraft 'known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government'
Associated Press
Aug 23, 2013


This tiny plains town an hour east of Denver doesn't have much to offer visitors — a gas station, a bar and a small-time rodeo one weekend a year.

But Deer Trail, population 500, is considering a proposal to make itself a national attraction for gun enthusiasts and people skeptical of government surveillance. Citizens on Oct. 8 will vote on whether to issue permits to hunt drones.

Yes, those drones. Shoot 'em down for $25. With a $100 bounty reward for shooters who bring in debris from an unmanned aircraft "known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government."

The initiative's architect insists it's a symbolic stand against government surveillance.

"These are not big drones you see on TV that look like airplanes. These are little 55-pound things that can come right down into your land," said Phillip Steel, a traveling structural inspector.

Steel got the idea after seeing news reports about the National Security Agency's domestic spying efforts. "Do we really want to become a surveillance society? That's what I find really repugnant," Steel said.

The measure drew a stern warning from Washington, which is considering several regions — most of them in Colorado and other Western states — where civilians can use drones on an experimental basis.

"Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane," the Federal Aviation Administration warned.

The proposal has sharply divided this tiny burg that lays claim to the world's oldest rodeo and not much else. (Some historians credit Deer Trail's 1869 rodeo as the first, though Deer Trail is just one of many claimants to the title.)

Taking a break from dishing up beef plates at the rodeo recently, Libby Mickaliger said it could be a great low-cost fundraiser for this dusty outpost. "If it raises money for the town, why not? It's not like people are going to go and shoot one down," she said.

Harry Venter, editor of the weekly Tri-County Tribune, worries the proposal sends the message that Deer Trail disapproves of the military, not domestic surveillance. "It's embarrassing to most of us, to be honest with you," Venter said.

Drone hunting has become the dominant topic at the Brown Derby, Deer Trail's only bar.

"I try to play pretty impartial with it. 'Cause if you own the bar, and you go out and speak for it or against it, you're going to make people mad," said owner Carl Miron. "But I don't like the fact that the government can sit and spy on you, I'll tell you that."

Miron pointed to dilapidated buildings surrounding the Brown Derby, their window frames pockmarked with broken glass. Deer Trail could use some extra cash, he said.

And if the initiative passes, he'd like to organize mock-drone-hunting weekends to draw visitors to the sleepy town. "I don't know what the government would think about it," he said, "but it would be fun."



Stop It


2cents's picture

I'd go for it! With or without the money! lol

Capt. Ford

What would work best for bait? A survivalist compound or cult?

The Big Dog's back

Gather up all the right wingers and let them duke it out with the drones. My money is on the drones.

Good 2 B Me

Shooting up into the air...what could possibly go wrong with that...


Happens often during quail, duck, grouse, pheasant, goose, and other bird seasons. Not to even mention skeet or trap shooters. Billions of shots into the air every year. 99.9% with no problems. Care to compare that to driving on the roads?

Good 2 B Me

I love how some people are just looking to fight. All that I am saying is a bullet that can travel far enough to hit a drone would also have to return to earth. If they are targeting us, it would not be in the mountains with no one around. It would be over towns, villages and cities. That has nothing to do with the roads.


If that is what you meant, was it too much trouble to write it down instead of putting up a vastly limited version that lets folks not know what you meant? If you wish people to know what you mean it helps to completely express your thought... not make us guess what you are saying. The town in the story has a population of 500. Not much different than being in the mountains, few people shoot a bullet straight up.

Good 2 B Me

It helps for someone not to be a A$$ just to pick a fight. I thought that we might be adults here and understand what was being said instead of needing an elaborate explanation about every single thing that is said. Some people are smart enough to know what I said instead of making themselves feel better for acting like a fool and trying to bash another person down to make themselves feel better since they have a horrible existence and that is the only way that they can get through life! How about that? A big run-on sentence for your to go after next!!

Oh yeah, in all of those seasons, the bullets that are being shot are all short range. You are not going to shoot a drone down with the same ammunition that you are using to shoot a quail. Maybe you should take a break and think about how overly critical you are of others and figure out what is wrong with you that makes you such a miserable person! Or should I say..."grumpy."


As is stated in the article:
""These are not big drones you see on TV that look like airplanes. These are little 55-pound things that can come right down into your land," said Phillip Steel, a traveling structural inspector."

Sounds like shooting low flying geese and ducks to me.

Unlike what you are claiming when you said:
"Oh yeah, in all of those seasons, the bullets that are being shot are all short range. You are not going to shoot a drone down with the same ammunition that you are using to shoot a quail.

I read and understood what was written in the article, your comment was not using the information in the article. That is why I said what I did. A 55 lb. drone is not armored and it wouldn't take much damage to a manmade flying machine that small to make it unable to fly.

And yes, when I am right it is... "good to be me".

Good 2 B Me

I fully read the article. I also feel that if the Governement is smart enough to be using these drones, they are not going to land in your yard or fly down low enough to get shot. Seriously. As of now, this is nothing more than speculation. An Anit-Obama scare tactic until it is proven to be legitimate. As for shooting these, do you really think that they would be flying them low enough for us to sit in the backyard waiting to shoot them down? Really??

AND....I am guessing that you are not very familiar with the feeling of being Good 2 B Me!


It is always good to be me... when I am right, as I have shown that I am, using what was in the article.

I don't understand how using drones over a small town in Colorado would be a smart thing to do. Nor would shooting them down be so. It is a small town and this has probably been more excitement than they usually have in a years time.

Good 2 B Me

Not really. How did you show that you were right? Just argumentative and loving to try and correct adults.


Since when is destruction of government property no longer a crime? I wonder if this is the same group of goat-ropers that wants to secede from Colorado and form their own state?


If you have no problems with drones spying on you, Please do not complain about people spying in your shower or house. If you do you are a Hypocrite. Thank you.

Judge Napolitano : First American to shoot down a Drone will be an American Hero (May 15, 2012)

Local police add drone technology to their departments

red white and blue

Lol donegan


As we're finding out new details each and every day that the NSA with the blessing of the Obama Admin. is spying on ordinary U.S. citizens all the while denying it, to think that govt. drones aren't already patrolling the skies smacks of ignorance and naiveté.

This Admin. LIES.


Good 2 B Me

Lying is not exclusive to this Administration. It has gone on for generations! Government only tells us what they think that we can handle.


Re: "It has gone on for generations!"

Arguing moral equivalency doesn't change the FACT that this Admin. LIES.

Good 2 B Me

No it does not. Every Administration does, so you are pointing out the obvious then.

Stop It

While it would be fun to actually use them as target practice, what we really have to do is find a way to block their frequency so they crash land and we get the tech for free. :)


Or start a business making kamikaze style remote control planes.... or the kits to build them..... I'd call that the American Spirit!... :)

2cents's picture

Estes rockets converted to SAM's I make them in grade school : )

red white and blue

I like the way maggdi thinks this could make mill.maybe put the profit toward paying off this dept.that obama has made

looking around

So where in this story is anything about the government operating drones over or within the boundary's of this little burg? Sort of like hunting for big foot, if it isn't there there is nothing to shot at, of course one of these idiots will take a pot shot at a small airplane passing overhead. I say send in an armed drone and take out their bar and rodeo!

Stop It

I knew from the first time I read this article, this comment section would be fun.

Some take it serious, others don't...not to mention, it's legal to smoke pot in CO.



It is like snooping without a warrant in hand. If no warrant to fly over property, it deserves to be shot down.

Pterocarya frax...

You gonna shoot up the Erie county Auditor's office too? Go to:

Do a quick search for your address and click on the pictometry button. See how the gubmint has already been spying on you, and making all your back yard secrets public to the whole world.


Why say this?

Because the "resident conspiracy theorist" pointed this out in my previous comments so you agree that I was telling the truth?


People many of you are displaying your age. This technology has been in use for decades. There are different levels of "drones" also. Talk to those in the DOD or an Iraq Veteran. Or look up "Operation Paperclip." Maybe the puzzle pieces will come together.