Holland Cokeley, 85, was walking in the woods behind his South Strabane home with his neighbor's dog when the dog found the turtle, KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, reported Friday.
"I picked it up, and I thought, 'Oh geez, this is Jeff's turtle!'" said Cokeley. "It's been here for 47 years, and it still has the same markings on it!"
In 1965, Jeff Cokeley, then 13, carved "JC" and "1965" on the turtle's bottom shell and then released it back into the wild. He now lives in New York but laughed when his father sent him a picture of the turtle, Holland Cokeley said.
Experts say some eastern box turtles can live for 100 years.
Holland Cokeley said he kept the turtle for a few days, then released it.