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Deer darts through Chambersburg

May 26, 2006

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - An injured deer was chased through downtown Chambersburg Thursday morning, but efforts to save the animal were unsuccessful.

The first call to the 911 center was at 8:13 a.m. from a person who reported a deer in their backyard in the 300 block of South Second Street, a 911 dispatcher said. Several other calls came in as people reported seeing the doe at Southgate Mall and in the F&M Trust parking lot across the street from the Franklin County Courthouse, where several Franklin County Sheriff's deputies tried to corral the deer.

"From there, it ran to the old courthouse and laid on the sidewalk," Deputy Michael Urso said. A pedestrian scared off the deer, which ran to an alley next the King Street Church, he said.

"The Game Commission came and tried to tranquilize it," Urso said. After it was hit with a tranquilizer dart, the deer ran across North Second Street, striking a window in an apartment building, he said.

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The deer then ran up an alley, ran into the wall of another building and laid down and died, said Wildlife Conservation Officer Barry Leonard.

"It was bleeding pretty heavily ... Chances are it wouldn't have made it, anyway," Leonard said. From the injuries he observed on the deer, he said it was apparently hit by a vehicle.

Leonard recalled a similar incident about four years ago when a deer ran through the front doors of a dry cleaning business downtown. The deer was cornered in the back of the business and hit with a tranquilizer dart, but was shot by a police officer when it tried to get out of the building, he said.

"They get disoriented or displaced from their normal range," Leonard said. "One scare leads to another ... and they end up in unfamiliar territory."

Development and the reduction of wildlife habitat contribute to wildlife finding themselves lost in an urban area, he said.

As part of a study of whitetail reproduction, the deer was later examined and determined to be a yearling carrying a male fawn "only a few weeks from conception," he said. All does killed or found dead between late March and the end of May are examined as part of the ongoing study, he said.

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