Suicidal deer …

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The people of Button Township, a rural area just outside Paxton, Ill., are sick and tired of hitting deer with their cars. As a novel way to get drivers’ attention, the town is installing new “suicidal deer” signs to curb the amount of wrecks caused by deer-vehicle collisions.

According to the Ford County Record, Button Township Highway Commissioner Ron Hilligoss came up with the eye-catching signage. The standard deer-crossing signs were altered to read “Suicidal Deer: Next 5 Miles.”

“My nephew sent me a picture of one of these signs out in Colorado about six months ago. He texted it to me, and I thought it was really a good thing because it gets your attention,” Hilligoss was quoted as saying. “So we had a Ford County Highway Department meeting and I said, ‘Can you get me these signs?’”

Four signs will eventually mark the roads in Button Township. The first went up roughly seven weeks ago; the other three have not been placed yet. Hilligoss worries that vandals might shoot up the signs or otherwise damage them, but if the prototype survives the rest will go up.

Illinois as a whole isn’t even in the top 20 states for deer-vehicle collisions, but Button Township has more than its fair share. The area had 33 reported wrecks in 2015 alone. While that figure sounds fairly low, the number doesn’t tell the whole story: As of the 2010 Census, Button Township had only 281 people within its 34 square miles.

The sign seems to already be making a difference. No deer collisions have been reported in 2016 as of the article’s publication Friday. “A lot of people see it,” Hilligoss said. “If you ask anybody where a deer crossing sign is, they couldn’t tell you, but they know where that one is at.”

Photo by: Will Brumleve/Paxton Record

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