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Gobbler is back at Matt
Stuffed turkey put on display
matt returns 4 jd
Matt the Turkey received a grand welcoming Tuesday as the stuffed fowl was placed at the entrance of Matt Elementary School. - photo by Jim Dean
A Forsyth County elementary school’s unofficial mascot will continue to keep watch over his beloved campus.

At least, for the time being.

Matt the Turkey, also known as Turkey Lurkey, Jake and Matty, was put on display Tuesday at Matt Elementary, where for years he had roamed the grounds and nearby woods.

The bird was found dead in February after he was apparently struck by a vehicle. He was put on ice until he could be stuffed and mounted.

The Sawnee Mountain Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation quickly stepped in and provided funds for a taxidermist.

The chapter’s president, Wes Dorsey, said the group was proud to give Matt back to the students.

“We hope they will enjoy having him around,” Dorsey said. “We also hope they will learn more about the wild turkey and its importance to the environment.”

Matt Principal Charlley Stadler said the school was grateful for the chapter’s contribution.

“We also appreciate the Department of Natural Resources who has worked with us through the years to take care of him too,” she said. “We are going to display Matt the turkey in the media center until the end of the year.”

The elusive Matt created a stir last fall when he managed to avoid being captured and relocated. The unsuccessful attempts came after he had been deemed a possible child and traffic hazard.

Stadler said the school plans to work with Sawnee Mountain Preserve to have Matt put on permanent display there. In the meantime, students welcomed the bird’s temporary perch.

“The children have certainly enjoyed visiting Matt today and had the opportunity to learn more about wild turkeys,” she said.

Dorsey said the chapter also hopes the school system will make use of the “jake boxes” the group provided to further students’ education about wild turkeys.

A jake is a young, male turkey. The boxes are similar to those used to catch wild turkeys and include educational materials.

He said there will also be a jake fishing event on Sept. 26 at the lower pool of Buford Dam in association with National Hunting and Fishing Day.