Suicidal deer sign controversy

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MITCHELL COUNTY, IA - We see them all the time and usually never give them a second thought.

Signs marking where deer frequently cross the road.

But one of those signs in Iowa is stirring up some controversy.

Brian Tabick reports.

  When you drive pass this sign it's hard not to take a second look.

This unusual deer crossing warning has popped up on Highway 105 in Mitchell County just outside of Saint Ansgar.

And it's sparking a lot of talk around the town.

"I do think it's rather insensitive."

Sally Hertel lives near the sign.

And she says there's a need to warn drivers to be on the lookout.

(Sally Hertel, Resident):  "Anywhere from here to Carpenter, seven miles away, there's a lot of deer traffic.  It's just part of living in north Iowa."

But she believes the wording of this particular sign crosses a line.

(Sally Hertel, Resident):  "Suicide. That makes it look like a joke.  I myself have never had anyone close to me decide to take their life but I have a lot of friends who know people who have and I know it's a very sensitive subject and I think that's kind of a mockery."

(Stan Walk, Mitchell County Supervisor):  "We happened to see one that was up in Illinois and thought it would be an effective way to remind people there are a lot of deer in the area."

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors approved this sign.

Supervisor Stan Walks says causing controversy was not the intention.

(Stan Walk, Mitchell County Supervisor):  "It was not meant that way and again we'll stand by it that it's an effective way to explain we have some issues here."

But others think there's a better way to remind motorists that a deer may jump in their path.

(Sally Hertel, Resident):  "I just came back from Austin and there's a sign with a deer jumping and it's white with and orange around it and it caught my attention."

The county supervisor says more signs like that one have been purchased, but he's not sure if or when they will be put up.

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