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Raining deer? Residents want action as deer keep falling to their deaths in Pennsylvania

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JOHNSONBURG, Pa. (WJAC) — A disturbing case of deer jumping to their death has residents in a small Pennsylvania town demanding something be done to stop it.

For the town of Johnsonburg, the snow may have stopped falling from the sky, but for some residents, it continues to rain deer.

"As you can see in the background, there's a deer that have jumped off this bypass,” explained resident Bill Boylan, referring to the US-219 bypass that runs through the town. “Recently, since we lived on the other side of the bypass, we've had 25 deer jump to their death in a populated area.

"That end of the bypass is probably more dangerous than any other area, 'cause that's the only place that it crosses over a populated area."

Boylan and other residents said they tried reaching out to PennDOT — but say 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 comes off from the snowplows that plow it over," said Boylan.

"We've contacted PennDOT on different occasions. Also the game commission, the game commission's been very cooperative," Boylan said.

Without some sort of barrier, Boylan says the deer will most likely continue to jump.

"What happens is here, the deer could be very easily diverted, if they would put up a fence on the point of this hill. They come down off of here. They get frightened out onto the bypass,” Boylan said. “They panic, one jumps off, and they all leap off."

Julie Padasak, another concerned resident, also reached out to the state and regional game commissions.

She says they pointed her to PennDOT.

She also says she feels this could impact the hunting season in the region.

"All of 'em are doe and that's, you know, potentially could have been how many more deer populating. If they wouldn't have died, they are the mothers to carry the, the baby deer," said Padasak.

And, with the warming weather, she fears the bodies will start to stink.

"But they're literally jumping to death,” explained Padasak. “And that, to me, looking at them, it's disturbing."

PennDOT told WJAC it is looking into the situation.

"We started taking a look at it, trying to really determine where the deer coming from, you know, 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," said district executive Tom Zurat.

He says PennDOT became aware of the deer only two weeks ago and that they had a conversation with their people a week ago about the issue.

"So I’d say over the next couple of weeks, we'll try to get an answer together and, you know, or try to get, at least an idea of what's going on and what's causing the problem," said Zurat. "We understand where they're coming from and we we'll look into it and see if there is something that we can do that, you know, involves the roadway that we can make it, you know, safer for the animals and obviously anybody that's a resident in that area. So yeah, we'll definitely take a look at it and see what we can do."

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