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A whimsical suggestion that deer read has intrigued and puzzled people.

Viral letter on crossing sign still gets attention a year later

– An Indiana man who suggested in a 2011 letter to the editor that a deer crossing sign be moved to a road with less traffic says he’s been caught off guard by the worldwide attention his missive has received.

Tim Abbott wrote the three-sentence letter to the Times in Munster, which published it Aug. 19.

“A lot of deer get hit by cars west of Crown Point on U.S. 231,” Abbott wrote. “There are too many cars to have the deer crossing here. The deer crossing sign needs to be moved to a road with less traffic.”

The letter caught the attention of late-night talk show host Jay Leno, who read it on the air in September. Since then, it’s gone viral, fueled by Internet posters both intrigued and puzzled by the tongue-in-cheek suggestion.

Actor George Takei of “Star Trek” television fame posted it on his Facebook page June 4, generating 42,369 likes and 5,906 comments.

Some of the commenters took Abbott’s letter literally and had disparaging remarks for the writer and the state. Others caught the humor in it and had their own recommendations.

One commenter suggested Abbott “volunteer to translate the sign so the deer can better heed its message.” Another urged officials to paint yellow parallel lines that can be “easily moved so that they can be put in front of any deer seen crossing.” A “deer detour sign” also got a nod.

Abbott, a 47-year-old oil refinery worker, said he never anticipated his letter would do more than raise a few eyebrows from local readers.

“Really all I wanted was to get a little rise out of people,” Abbott said.

He said it’s been nearly a year since the letter first appeared and he still gets letters and phone calls in the middle of the night.

He scratches his head over some of the reactions.

“Some people seem to think I believe deer can read,” Abbott said.

Ironically, Abbott collided with a deer in the spot marked by the deer crossing sign after penning the letter.