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Canadian residents living near the Northwest Miramichi River in Mirimichi, New Brunswick, have been killing a lot of deer illegally lately. It’s not with ill intent they’ve been shooting these deer illegally, though.

The deer are attempting to reach a deer yard where they typically spend the winter, but for many of the deer who must cross the river this proves to be deadly. The deer are either falling through thin ice or they are slipping on it, causing injury.

“When they splice, their legs go to the sides and do a lot of internal damage, and they can no longer walk after that,” New Brunswick Department of Energy and Resource Development biologist Eric Sullivan told CTV News. “There’s nothing we can do for them, even if we get them ashore, there’s so much damage done that there’s nothing we can do, we have to dispose of them.”

Though the action is illegal, many residents decided they weren’t going to sit around and watch these animals suffer, so they opted to shoot them instead of letting the deer slowly suffer and die.

Even when the ice does eventually thicken up enough to allow safe passage, this issue will come up again once it starts to thaw.

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