Back in July, everybody chuckled a little over Deer Trail, Colorado's half-baked plan to issue drone hunting licences 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 licences proposed earlier in the year, so they don't actually have anything to give the hunter hopefuls who sent checks for the $US25 licence 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 licence two weeks ago, after she'd received 983 cheques worth some $US19,000. 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 licence 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 licences and has so far pocketed at least $US2500, 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 that's America. [Denver Post via TechEye]