Can you blame her? Having a drone flying over your private property is such an invasion of privacy. Why should anyone have to tolerate this uninvited and unwelcome voyeurism into their private personal lives?
With a single shotgun blast, a 65-year-old woman in rural northern Virginia recently shot down a drone flying over her property.
The woman, Jennifer Youngman, has lived in The Plains, Virginia, since 1990. The Fauquier Times first reported the June 2016 incident late last week. It marks the third such shooting that Ars has reported on in the last 15 months—last year, similar drone shootings took place in Kentucky and California.
Youngman told Ars that she had just returned from church one Sunday morning and was cleaning her two shotguns—a .410 bore and a 20-gauge—on her porch. She had a clear view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and neighbor Robert Duvall’s property (yes, the same Robert Duvall from The Godfather). Youngman had seen two men set up a card table on what she described as a “turnaround place” on a country road adjacent to her house.
“I go on minding my business, working on my .410 shotgun and the next thing I know I hear ‘bzzzzz,’” she said. “This thing is going down through the field, and they’re buzzing like you would scaring the cows.”
Youngman explained that she grew up hunting and fishing in Virginia, and she was well-practiced at skeet and deer shooting.
“This drone disappeared over the trees and I was cleaning away, there must have been a five- or six-minute lapse, and I heard the ‘bzzzzz,’” she said, noting that she specifically used 7.5 birdshot. “I loaded my [20-gauge] shotgun and took the safety off, and this thing came flying over my trees. I don’t know if they lost command or if they didn’t have good command, but the wind had picked up. It came over my airspace, 25 or 30 feet above my trees, and hovered for a second. I blasted it to smithereens.”
When the men began to walk towards her, she told them squarely: “The police are up here in The Plains and they are on their way and you need to leave.”
The men complied. “They got in their fancy ostentatious car—I don’t know if it was a Range Rover or a Hummer—and left,” she said. The Times said many locals believe the drone pilots may have been paparazzi or other celebrity spotters flying near Duvall’s property.
Youngman said that she recycled the drone but managed to still be irritated by the debris left behind. “I’ve had two punctures in my lawn tractor,” she said. –ARS Technica