Controversial deer crossing sign has people talking

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MITCHELL COUNTY, IA - Drivers often see deer crossing signs from time to time, and hopefully slow down but don't usually give them a second thought.  However, one of those signs in Iowa is stirring up some controversy.

When you drive past the sign, it's hard not to take a second look.  It says 'Suicidal Deer' and has popped up on Highway 105 in Mitchell County, just outside of St. Ansgar, Iowa.

It's sparked a lot of talk around the town.

"I do think it's rather insensitive," said Sally Hertel, who lives nearby.

She admits there's a need to warn drivers to be on the lookout.  "Anywhere from here to Carpenter, seven miles away, there's a lot of deer traffic. It's just part of living in north Iowa," said Hertel.

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

"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," Hertel said.

"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," said Stan Walk, Mitchell County Supervisor.

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors approved the sign.  Walk says causing controversy was not the intention.

"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," said Walk.

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

"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," said Hertel.

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.