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Hunt for big bird on hold
Matt's mascot gets to stay ... for now
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Forsyth County News

Matt the Turkey, aka Matty or Turkey Lurkey, will enjoy another week of freedom.

The friendly turkey, which has roamed the campus of Matt Elementary for several years, was recently deemed a possible child and traffic hazard.

The state's Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division was called in after an unsuccessful effort by the Forsyth County special services division, which handles animal control.

Kevin Lowrey, division assistant regional supervisor, said hunting season has sidetracked the department's efforts, but officers likely will return next week to capture the unofficial mascot of the school in western Forsyth.

Nets were not successful, so Lowrey is waiting on a veterinarian in Ball Ground to provide a tranquilizer.

"He is supposed to come up with the correct dose for me on darting the thing and then it's just a matter of getting out there and doing it," he said. "I'm looking at next week probably.

"It's definitely something we want to help Forsyth County do. But it's been there a couple of years and I'm sure a couple of weeks in order to get the dose right would be worth the wait."

Lowrey has previously said the turkey, once captured, will most likely be given to a petting zoo or education center with a wild animal permit. The bird will not be euthanized or released into the wild.

While Matt's freedom may be nearing an end, reports have surfaced of a second turkey, which lives between Vickery Elementary School and the Vickery community.

Scott Phillips, manager of Atkins Park Tavern in the mixed-use development, said he's seen the turkey several times during his early morning commute.

"If you're coming up Post Road ... just past the school there's that little grassy area right before you get to Vickery Village, across the street from all the dirt," he said. "It usually is in that area, hanging around those trees.

"It showed up about the time they cleared all that stuff across the street, so it was probably living over there."

Lowrey is also familiar with the Vickery turkey. Over the summer, he said, the department made one attempt to catch it, but officers soon "realized we needed a new tactic."

Due to its proximity to the school, Lowrey said the Matt turkey is the "bigger problem right now."