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Josh Chauvin's favorite topwater lure to catch speckled trout is Strike King's 4 ¾-inch Sexy Dawg, which features three treble hooks. Unfortunately for Chauvin, a shark nailed this speck before he got it to the boat.

Apex Predator tests topwater lures for speckled trout

Topwater action is really exciting, but it can become frustrating when speckled trout are only slapping at the bait or constantly coming unhooked during the fight. Since trout often feed on the surface only for short durations in the early-morning or late-afternoon, having a lure that puts fish in the boat as quickly as possible is important. 

July 05 at 9:17pm
The Apex Predator, Josh Chauvin, used his doubled-over four-turn improved clinch knot on the lure when he caught this spadefish.

Apex Predator's top fluorocarbon knots

With so many uncontrollable factors when fishing, one thing I can control is my knot choice — so I try to use the most efficient knots possible to put the odds in my favor. 

June 10 at 2:21pm
Josh Chauvin shows off a big alligator snapping turtle he caught using a noodle constructed with a non-stainless hook, untarred line and a ½-inch hex nut for the weight.

Apex Predator: How to make noodles to catch alligator snapping turtles

Catching turtles is something I’ve done since childhood. In fact, I used to catch and sell them with a reptile collector’s license as a kid. 

May 24 at 2:30pm
Josh Chauvin, the Apex Predator, shows off a 58-pound catfish he caught recently in the Intracoastal with a rod and reel using a Carolina rig and chunks of gaspergou for bait.

Apex Predator lands a 58-pound mud whale

Just like hunting, when it comes to fishing my goal is big game. So in the springtime I regularly set noodle lines for choupic and catfish, but this year I had the urge to catch a big one the old-fashioned way: with a rod and reel. 

March 16 at 2:36pm
By scouting locations each spring and using his bicycle and a kayak, Josh Chauvin accesses sloughs and small pockets where late-season ducks gather to avoid hunting pressure.

Apex Predator: Early-spring is perfect scouting time for deer and ducks

One of my favorite times of the year to scout for ducks and deer is late winter and early spring. I love fishing these months, too, but when the temperatures are cold in the mornings, I hit the woods in search of next year’s new spots.

March 08 at 9:06am
Josh Chauvin arrowed this doe with a 12-yard shot using his 100-pound Bamabows longbow on St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Natchez, Miss.

Apex Predator: 100-pound longbow adventure brings down doe

I could have never imagined that shooting a doe would give me more of a rush than my biggest buck — but oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened. 

February 03 at 6:34pm
Josh Chauvin, the Apex Predator, poses with a double-throat patch 9-pointer he shot last season on St. Catherine's Creek National Wildlife Refuge. The hunt featured lots of miscues, but he took the only shot he had and dropped his biggest buck to date.

Apex Predator makes only shot count, downs double-patched Mississippi River buck

Even though I practice and prepare to limit human error, one or two things are bound to eventually go wrong when I average several hunts each week all season long. 

But on one particular hunt last year, when practically 99 percent of things went bad, I learned sometimes it only takes that magical 1 percent to go right to succeed at deer hunting.

January 04 at 4:12pm
Josh Chauvin, the Apex Predator, researched arrow speed and trajectory to determine the ideal yardage to set your first pin. Click on the image for easier reading.

Apex Predator: Determining supreme arrow trajectory

Suddenly, I spotted the deer creeping silently on a foggy Mississippi River ridge. The doe was broadside, upwind and unaware of my presence, but was already passing through my 35-yard shooting gap. Only one last window remained before it disappeared into the brush for good.

December 01, 2015 at 9:00am
Josh Chauvin, the Apex Predator, missed out on a couple of opportunities to take down a big bear, but cashed in with three grouse to go with his cow elk and wrap up his Colorado trip.

Colorado Part II: The Apex Predator's bear blunders and three-shot scores

Last spring, I made my first-ever bear hunt and passed on a small cinnamon black bear. Ready for another taste of that action, I scored an over-the-counter limited archery fall bear tag for Colorado by buying it within minutes of when sales opened.

November 10, 2015 at 5:49pm
One of Josh Chauvin's goals for the 2015 season is to take down a deer with his 100-pound custom longbow. This still shot captures him drawing back on a coyote last January, which he missed just high from 14 yards.

Apex Predator: Prepped and ready for upcoming deer season

Last hunting season was my best ever.

I was able to string together 139 public-land deer hunts by the end of January. Over the course of the coming season, I’ll be sharing many of my stories, videos, tactics and strategies I use to harvest my deer.  

September 29, 2015 at 3:53pm
The Apex Predator, Josh Chauvin, poses with a 600-pound cow elk he arrowed on a recent trip to remote, mountainous terrain in Colorado.

Apex Predator arrows cow elk in Colorado

My second year in Colorado got off to a rocky start. After the long 21-hour drive, I got lost entering the woods because the GPS deleted my spots from last season. After 90 minutes of making circles in the thick mountainous terrain, I finally made it to one of the waist-high prairies at first light. Within three minutes of beginning the hunt, I jumped a noisy grouse which sent a cow elk running just 40 yards away. 

September 17, 2015 at 4:36pm
Josh Chauvin harvested this spike last season on Sicily Island Hills WMA with his PSE Talon, and even cut the drawstring from his pants to attach the tag to the deer.

Apex Predator: Potential solutions to hunter non-compliance in reporting deer kills

A recent article on LouisianaSportsman.com stated only 20 to 30 percent of the deer harvested in the state last season had the tags validated, and detailed an extremely low compliance rate that should startle any ethical hunter. 

August 25, 2015 at 5:00pm
One of Josh Chauvin's favorite trail cam pics shows this nice buck being stalked by a turkey, which is visible to the right in the background of the photo.

Apex Predator: Summertime trail camera set-up advice

When I’m not in the boat during the summer, I’m most likely in the woods setting trail cameras on whatever public lands allow them. 

August 18, 2015 at 1:56pm
The Apex Predator shot this 350-pound hog on Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge two years ago. The statewide Hog Wash Tournament gets underway Sept. 20 and runs through Aug. 31, 2016.

Apex Predator: Year-long Hog Wash Tournament starts Sept. 20

If you like hog hunting, eating pork and competing in tournaments, great news: Louisiana’s first year-long hog tournament begins soon. 

July 21, 2015 at 4:09pm
After a tough fight, with no gaff, Josh Chauvin was finally able to net this 50-pound plus lemonfish he hooked using a de-barbed hardhead catfish for live bait.

Apex Predator: Use red snapper and de-barbed hardheads to catch more cobia

Cobia are one of my favorite fish to catch, but with only a 16-foot bay boat, my days at trying to get these tasty fish are very limited.

So I make sure to have the most enticing bait that no cobia can resist: barb-less hardhead catfish.

July 13, 2015 at 4:40pm
The Apex Predator recently encountered this black bear while setting out trail cameras with his dogs on Richard K. Yancey WMA in lower Concordia Parish.

Video: Apex Predator encounters bear while setting trail cams

It was just another typical day of setting cameras in the heat of summer. 

My wife was trying to sleep in at the camp, but with the pups barking to go play once the sun came up, that would be impossible. So, as I often do, I took the dogs along for the adventure.

But we would soon have more than we bargained for when I learned two valuable lessons: bears don’t necessarily scare off if you yell at them, and they don’t like being called Mr. Frisky.

June 29, 2015 at 5:41pm