The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 1, 2012

Deer’s status keeps watchers guessing

Randy Griffith

— Thursday was an emotional roller coaster for employees at a Johnstown company who have been watching a young deer stranded in the Conemaugh River’s concrete channel.

The animal, believed to be a young female whitetail, has been at the river wall near JWF Industries on Iron Street since Tuesday. It apparently was washed downstream by high water from Superstorm Sandy.

On Thursday morning, workers could find no sign of the deer, and fire department personnel also were unsuccessful in locating the animal, JWF security guard Mark Hawk said.

Volunteers scanned the channel from the Stone Bridge in downtown Johnstown to the Fourth Avenue Bridge between Minersville and Cambria City.

There was no sign.

“She apparently ended up in the water,” Hawk said Thursday morning. “We lost track of her. We are still crossing our fingers, hoping that somebody in Coopersdale will say, ‘Hey look, there’s a deer.’ ”

But Hawk said it looked as if the story would have a sad ending.

Then, she was back.

“Honest to God, I don’t know how she is there,” Hawk said Thursday afternoon. “We looked for that deer over, and over, and over, and over.”

Fire police spotted the deer in mid-afternoon, and JWF security cameras also reacquired the doe.

Authorities have said trying to retrieve the animal would not only put rescuers in peril, but would likely spook the deer into the water, perhaps sealing her fate.

The watchers are hoping she can survive until water levels drop and she can find her way to safety.

“Apparently, this story is not over yet,” Hawk said.  

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