Our Town: Worm Grunting in Wakulla County

Worm Grunters
Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 12, 2012
and last updated 2013-01-13 16:03:51-05

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla (WTXL)-- As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. That’s why one family is out the Apalachicola National Forest, at the crack of dawn, worm grunting.

Gary Revell and his wife Audrey are professional worm grunters. They spend countless mornings deep in the forest catching earth worms.

"We done it ever since we got married in 1970. We're a team," says Gary.

Gary shakes up the earth by rubbing a flat piece of iron across a stake called a stob, which he hits into the ground. Moments later hundreds of worms wiggle their way to surface. Audrey gathers them up in a bucket.

"If you're determined to do well, you pretty much going to go home with some earthworms. You ain’t you going to go home empty handed."

For years it was a mystery has to how this technique makes worms squirm. Gary says researchers from Vanderbuilt University believe vibrations of worm grunting imitate a mole. The woms slither to the surface to avoid being prey. Once collected, they are sold as bait.

Revell adds, "You can catch just about any kind of fish turtles or whatever. These worms are some of the best fish bait there are."

The price is five cents to eight cents a worm. The Revell's say they aren't making a fortune, but catching the worms is a challenge they're always up for, along with taking in all the beauty the forest has to offer.

"…we enjoy the forest this is where we live and to us it's part of our playground. This is where we work hunt and fish and all of our outside activities is right out of this forest here."

Taking a walk around Apalachicola National Forest, it is easy to understand why both the Revell’s and the worms are hooked on Wakulla County.