In a cruel twist of nature, numerous deer are attempting to cross a New Brunswick, Canada, river that is covered in thin ice, and many aren't making it.

The deer are trying to reach a deer yard where they spend most of their winter but negotiating the Northwest Miramichi River in Miramichi has proven challenging and, in many cases, deadly, according to CTV News.

The Department of Energy and Resource Development has received up to 20 calls in two days about the deer. Wildlife officials put down three deer Thursday morning but managed to save one and take it to shore.

The deer either fall through the ice or slip on it, splaying their legs.

"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."

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For residents, the sight of dying deer is heartbreaking.

"Poor things, they're trying to get back up again and they're alive, but some of them are frozen right into the ice and there's not much you can do," local resident Bill Mullin told CTV News.

But some residents are doing something about it. Though illegal, they are shooting the deer from shore to get them out of their misery.

The hope is that the ice will thicken to allow the deer to cross. Sadly, the same issue will arise again in the spring.

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