Oh dear! The Missouri Department of Transportation admitted Monday that it's deer literacy program has been a spectacular failure.
"A bold MODOT program to teach Missouri's half-million deer population about highway safety has failed to gain traction with the antlered [and anterless] throughout the state," according to a news release from the state highway agency.
The state has placed deer crossing signs along the state's nearly 34,000 miles of highways. The hope has been that deer will see the signs and realize that is where they are to cross and nowhere else.
"The program got off to a rocky start when maintenance workers placed the signs facing oncoming traffic on the highway, thinking the signs were meant to be viewed by motorists," the news release states.
The program has seen limited success in slowing the number of deer leaping into the path of vehicles.
"Those wild ruminants often ignore the signs and dart onto highways far from designated deer crossing areas, often to their demise," MODOT warned. "Their ignorance and impetuous actions also threaten the lives and property of motorists."
Despite deer stubborn resistance to recognize the validity of these vital signs and learn the most basic of commands, MODOT maintains its investment has not been an entirely wasted expenditure of tax dollars.
"Rather it is hoped that motorists themselves will see the signs and be reminded that deer have been seen in the area and may attempt to cross the highway at any point, even when the signs aren't present," MODOT said in attempting to justify this considerable state expense.
MODOT District Engineer Dan Niec maintained Monday that this is an important issue that requires the intelligence of humans.
"We hope that the public won't be fooled into thinking that deer will only cross where they see the signs," Niec said. "We think most people get it."
Left unsaid in the news release issued Monday morning: April Fools!
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