The proposed no-drone zone for Deer Trail was met with guffaws from pundits and expressions of stern concern from FAA types, but the story quickly went viral. Not everyone in Deer Trail is taken with Steel's idea, of course; some even consider it an embarrassment. One online campaign against the ordinance objects to the costs the town would incur — up to $10,000 a year is to be spent on "unmanned aerial vehicle recognition training," plus a $100 bounty for each downed drone — and raises other indemnification and safety concerns.

"We do have a small but vocal opposition," Steel admits. "Deer Trail has always fought like cats and dogs."

Last month, Sheriff Robinson sent a letter to Deer Trail mayor Frank Fields and the town board, detailing his own opposition to the ordinance. Among other concerns, he raised the possibility that would-be drone hunters could be breaking a range of existing criminal laws and face charges of reckless endangerment or prohibited use of a firearm.

"Maybe the mayor and the town trustees see this as a novelty, a way to get themselves on the map," Robinson says. "But some people may see it as giving them authority to fire on what they think is an unmanned drone, and you don't know where that round is going."

Although his agency currently doesn't deploy drones over Deer Trail, the sheriff can envision situations in which they might come in handy, such as tracking a raging wildfire. "I'd put a drone up in a heartbeat for that," he says. "There are a lot of usages for drones that folks aren't thinking about."

Regardless of the outcome of the vote, Steel is already reaping his revenge, selling licenses for drone hunting through his website at twenty bucks a pop, plus shipping and handling — even though they're not recognized by any public authority. He sent out eighty orders just the other day, he reports.

"They may be able to defeat the initiative," he says. "But they can't defeat me."

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