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Who taught you how to hunt and what was the most important lesson you learned from that person?
Dean Capuano – My father was the one who got me into hunting at a very early age. I have been around guns and hunting since I was 3 or 4. For him it was all about instilling in me about not giving up, I learned that lesson from hunting and have carried it with me my whole life…through sports and now every day it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish the game.
You have had the opportunity to hunt all over the world, what has been your favorite location and species?
Dean Capuano – I love whitetails so anytime and anywhere I can those are my first choice, but I have been fortunate to literally see the world and if I had to pick one trip it would be my brown bear trip in Russia. The hunt was good but to get to experience all that culture and history was great! As a product of growing up in the 80’s, Russia was the enemy and I did play hockey there in 1985, but to see it now was something pretty special.
What has hunting taught you about yourself?
My hunting life is very much a microcosm of who I am as a person: driven, not afraid to make mistakes, picking myself up after they happen and be even more driven to succeed.
What is your best hunting trip?
Dean Capuano – My best hunting trip was by far my Stone Sheep hunt a few years ago. The mental and physical challenge of that hunt was something for the ages and the fact I was ready for it made it one of the most rewarding hunts of my life. I even did Yoga to prepare for it!
What’s the most important factor in choosing optics for big game hunts?
Dean Capuano – The single most important factor for binoculars and riflescopes is choosing the appropriate magnification for the area you are hunting. Lower magnification optics have wider field of views for short-range scenarios, while higher magnifications have a greater ability to make out detail at long range but have narrower field of views.
If you are hunting in eastern woodlands where the maximum distance you can see is restricted to 100 yards or less, a lower magnification binocular like 8X or 8.5X is all you need. This is sufficient power for detail at these distances, but the wider field of views offered can make the difference in spotting or not spotting game in thick cover. For a variable power riflescope, a scope with the lowest magnification starting somewhere between 1X and 3X is all that is needed for woods hunting. This will give wider field of views where shots will be relatively short.
If the hunt will take place in a mid-western type setting where there is a mix of woods and fields a binocular in 8X, 8.5X or 10X are all good choices depending on user preference. Where longer shots may present themselves, a variable power riflescope with the lowest magnifications starting between 1.7X and 4X are good choices.
If the hunt will take place in wide open areas where the visibility can be measured in miles, binoculars of 10X, 12X or 15X are great choices. Higher-powered binoculars are more difficult to hold steady. Swarovski Optik has designed the higher power binoculars to be ergonomically friendly, allowing their high magnification binoculars to be held steadier. Binocular glassing with a tripod may also be considered for the best results with high magnification binoculars. A spotting scope is also recommended in a western U.S. or wide-open area environment. A variable power riflescope with a starting low magnification of between 2X and 5X with the upper magnifications between 12X and 30X would be a good choice in this type of area.
Tell us about maintenance on optics, how should we care for them in the off-season? When they get wet?
Dean Capuano – Swarovski Optik products are virtually maintenance free. The lenses should be kept clean, especially the ocular lenses for optimum viewing. Our binoculars are waterproof as well as submersible (down to 13 ft.). If the product is not used in the off season, it is a good idea to turn the focus ring, power ring, ocular focus on a riflescope, several times the full range of adjustment. There are greases inside that could stiffen if not used for several years.
Some say brightness level in an optic is overrated – what is your take on that?
Dean Capuano – Overall, brightness in optics is not overrated. It depends on how brightness is quantified. Looking at the technical specifications from a few of the major manufacturers, you may see specifications such as light transmission, relative brightness or twilight factors. Light transmission is the more important figure that tells the truer story of brightness. The light transmission figure, i.e. 90 percent, 91 percent, 93 percent, is the result of very high quality glass used in conjunction with highly developed anti-reflective coatings to yield a very high percentage of light transmittance. Some manufacturers will not list any kind of light transmission figure – it can possibly be assumed that the number will not reflect a good comparative light transmission number.
Other companies may use a “Relative Brightness” number. This is where the “Brightness” level can be overrated. Take a binocular that is an 8×32. The exit pupil (magnification divided into objective lens diameter in millimeters) of an 8×32 is 4mm. Relative Brightness is simply the exit pupil squared. In this case 4×4=16. So an 8×32 binocular that retails at $300, or $2400, both have a Relative Brightness rating of 16. This figure does not take into consideration the glass quality, coating technology or overall optical engineering.