Drone hunting on ballot in rural Colorado town

DEER TRAIL, Colo. - A rural Colorado town known for the world's first rodeo could add another claim to fame. Voters in Deer Trail will decide whether to allow permits to hunt drones. And by hunt, they mean shoot them out of the sky with a shotgun.

Deer Trail is small town America, with quiet streets, a water tower and eastern Colorado charm. Just over 500 people call it home. But this pocket of country is getting a second look these days, and a third, and fourth.

"It all depends on who you talk to, I think it's kind of good attention," said Deer Trail Mayor, Frank Fields.

That attention comes from a decision in the hands of the 300 or so registered voters. They're deciding whether it should be legal to issue drone hunting licenses. A piece of paper that says it's legal to take aim at drones.

"I'd pop a few rounds off at it," said Phil Steel, a Deer Trail native.

Steel is the guy whose idea it is to make this happen. He brought it before the town council last August.

"Personally I think it's bad for the town, bad publicity," said Deer Trail resident, Gary Lavoie.

Some agree. Then there are those like Fields who thinks the town can make money from the $25 permits, even though it's illegal to put them to use. As in, it's illegal to fire a 12-guage shotgun into the sky.

"To me it's about selling licenses to make money for the town," said Fields. "But it's kind of turned into more of a statement."

"They will sell thousands of drone hunting licenses to people who will never travel to Deer Trail," said Steve Gill.

The buzz brought Gill, the president of the National Association of Drone Sportsman, to town. Gill and NADS get the tongue and cheek tone, but think small town Deer Trail, can create some big town hype, in standing up to government

"People who get the idea, get the joke, will be proud of the fact Deer Trail is going to get some national and international exposure," Gill said.

Well not all of them are convinced.

"People realize, why pay $25 for something you can't really use," asked Lavoie.

In fact, many like Lavoie miss the quiet they're accustomed to.

"I really just want it to end and be over with tonight," he said.

Early polling prior to Tuesday's election showed the town was nearly split on the issue.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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