Pennsylvania – The Road Kill State

Even though I have lived on the east coast my entire life, I’ve not spent much time in Pennsylvania.

There are no dead deer on the state flag. (image public domain)

When I was in first grade, I won the best reader award in my class. The prize was a bus trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country for the day. I remember people wore funny hats and I got to be up front to look at things because the other first grader and I were the smallest kids on the trip.

I returned a few years later, in my forties, on a work trip to Philadelphia. I remember a good Italian restaurant and a hotel bartender’s recommendation on where to get a cheese-steak.

So I haven’t seen a lot of Pennsylvania until recently. On Wednesday and Thursday I put the top down on my car and drove to and from Hershey, PA for a Bruce Springsteen concert. If you’re saying “a day trip to Hershey doesn’t move you into the “spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania” category, I agree.

But I’m going to say that I was able to draw some definite conclusions.

Some Conclusions

Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. I was convinced of that on my drive to Hershey, even at interstate speeds. On the way home I set Google Maps to avoid highways, threw the top back on the Miata and took the back roads. I was right, it’s even prettier between thirty-five and fifty m.p.h.. The back road drive, through small towns and forests was amazing. I’m so glad I took the time to take my time.

But I reached another, darker, conclusion about The Keystone State during my twenty-four hours there. Pennsylvania is a lousy place to be a deer.

What’s she pointing at? A dead deer. (image public domain)

I’ve said that I was at a Springsteen concert, so perhaps you’re wondering how I know how many deer are in Pennsylvania. It’s because there are so many of them dead on the side of the road. The shoulders of Pennsylvania roads – Interstates, secondary highways, twisting back roads – are carpeted with what used to be deer.

They Are Everywhere

As I was driving in to the state I saw my first deer along the interstate. It wasn’t pretty. It had been there a while. Compared to the next one, it really hadn’t. There was another and another and another. It just seems that cleaning that sort of thing up is not something the state or local government does.

How many dearly departed deer did I see along the highway in Pennsylvania? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it was far more than I’ve seen anywhere in my life. I can also tell you that I saw so many, in different states of decay, that I now qualify as an expert witness in court in determining the cause and time of death in deer murder cases.

You’re going to think I’m lying about this, but I’m not. I even saw a deer skeleton.

Maybe I Should Go Again

So now, after three visits to Pennsylvania I have three distinct impressions of the state:

First grade: People wear funny hats. I get to be up front. There sure are a lot of farms.

In my 40’s: Philly is a cool place where you can get great Italian food. Also, bartenders know where to get the best cheese-steak sandwich.

In my 50’s: Gorgeous scenery. A peaceful place. Great drive. Seriously, could they at least Febreze the deer?

Three trips to Pennsylvania, nine thoughts. Eight of them are valid. The only one that I realize is no longer true is that I get to be up front.  I did not get to be up front for the Bruce Springsteen concert like I did for the butter churning demonstration in first grade. Pity.

I’ll have to go back for more research.

Note to self – keep the top and the windows up.



24 Comments on “Pennsylvania – The Road Kill State”

  1. HAHAHAHA! I think the Febreze might even have some bi-partisan support. Someone should lobby for it. People of all parties have a sense of smell.

    • omawarisan says:

      If anyone doesn’t support the Febreze idea, I will take them on ride through Pennsylvania in my car with the top down. All it will take is driving past two deer.

  2. List of X says:

    What kind of state is that if they can’t even afford vultures and crows??

  3. Given your highly sensitive sniffer (e.g., Tuna Guy, Perfume Lady, Pennsylvania roadkill), it strikes me as amusingly ironic that your favorite coffee shop is the Smelly Cat.

  4. Betty says:

    But are the PA residents as kind as the people of Connecticut who tie get well soon balloons on the legs of dead roadside deer?

    • omawarisan says:

      No, but I like that idea. If they’re going to keep this sort of thing up they should own it with a sense of humor.

    • Queen says:

      i’ve been on route 80 in PA, and i’ve seen all of the deer omawarisan’s talking about. too many to tie balloons on. probably more dead deer than people who live in those rural areas…

  5. Pennsylvania was at one time one of my favourite places to cruise around. We use to take long bike rides (Aspencades & Goldwings) always stopping in Hershey. I loved the area. That is until we started having to make drives to Allenwood to visit my brother-in-law. Once he was released we never went back.

  6. Dan Hennessy says:

    “….dearly departed deer” —– great ! How about “deerly departed” ? Shouldn’t Pennsylvanians make the road kill deer into scrapple , or am I thinking of somewhere else ? Philly cheese steak ? Just trying to help .

  7. I’m glad I don’t live in Pennsylvania. I’d probably be driving with blinders on to avoid seeing the roadkill – and hit a deer.

  8. People in PA have mullets. That’s what I learned last year.

    Also…people in PA can’t drive. That’s why there’s so much roadkill. Well, most people in PA can’t drive, but not the ones reading this comment.

  9. Laura says:

    Wait — you went to Hershey, PA and didn’t go on a tour of the chocolate factory?

  10. Reblogged this on Cynthia Pittmann and commented:
    I saw many deer on the side of the road in decay also, but Ohio has a lot too. 4o miles into the state and so far I’ve seen 3 dead dear. Shocking. In Puerto Rico, you see dead dogs everywhere. I’m not used to it – even less so, these dead deer along US highways.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We saw 15 dead deer within 70 miles off I – 80 we now know we are not hallucinating and our reason for the same is solved

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