By Cody Taylor
JOHNSONBURG, Pa. (WENY) – Deer have been leaping to their deaths in a northwest Pennsylvania town.
The residents working to save them say the animals plummet off a bypass.
“Recently, since we lived on the other side of the bypass, we’ve had 25 deer jump to their death in a populated area,” said Bill Boylan. “That end of the bypass is probably more dangerous than any other area.”
Boylan and other residents said they tried reaching out to the Pennsylvania state Department of Transportation, but they did not get the response they were hoping for.
“PennDOT apparently doesn’t see the wisdom of putting maybe a diversion fence for the deer, or maybe some nets to catch all the debris that come off from the snowplows that plow it over,” Boylan said. “We’ve contacted PennDOT on different occasions.
Without some sort of barrier, Boylan said the deer will most likely continue to jump.
“The deer could be very easily diverted if they would put up a fence on the point of this hill,” Boylan said. “They get frightened out onto the bypass. They panic. One jumps off, and they all leap off.”
Julie Padasak also reached out to the state and regional game commissions, which pointed her to the DOT.
Padasak said she feels this could impact the hunting season in the region.
“All of them are does, and that could have been how many more deer are populating,” she said. “If they wouldn’t have died, they are the mothers to carry the baby deer.”
With the warming weather, Padasak fears the bodies will start to stink.
“But they’re literally jumping to death,” she said. “And that, to me, looking at them, it’s disturbing.”
Tom Zurat, district executive with the Pennsylvania DOT, said the state is looking into the problem.
“We started taking a look at it, trying to really determine where the deer are coming from. How are they ending up on that bridge is really the problem we’ve got to solve first before we can determine if there’s anything we can do or not,” Zurat said, adding that the DOT became aware of the deer only two weeks ago.
“I’d say over the next couple of weeks, we’ll try to get an answer together, at least an idea of what’s going on and what’s causing the problem,” he said. “We’ll look into it and see if there is something we can do that involves the roadway … so we can make it safer for the animals and obviously anybody that’s a resident in that area.”