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A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

A Hunting Guide’s Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

By Robb Wiley
Of Non-Typical Outfitters

When I started my big game guiding career back in 1993, it soon became crystal clear that quality optics were one of the essential tools for hunting trophy animals. As I scoured the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming early in my career looking for trophies, I discovered that in order to be consistently successful, one needs glass that can go long and be able to do it in low light conditions. Even though your eyes can overcome some of the shortfalls of low end optics when you are a young 20-something, nothing can make up for using the best.

A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

Like most people, I tried the lower price point optics at first. What I quickly learned is that even though the lower price point brands are capable of getting you game, if you want to maximize your precious time in the field, quality optics are a must. There is no replacement for the best optics that you can find… ABSOLUTELY NO REPLACEMENT. Quality optics can save you many hours and/or miles during your trophy hunt and can help you to maximize all of your efforts.

A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

I quickly noticed a difference in Swarovski optics as compared to other brands. The Swarovski optics had the highest color definition as well as the best low light capabilities of any of the multitude of other brands that I tried over the years. When you are looking for giant mule deer you’re searching for an animal that is primarily nocturnal. It is often at first or last light when they are up and moving.

When I am glassing for mule deer in the high county I’m often looking for slight color variations in the terrain: a white nose, a tan inner leg, a gray body in gray rocks, the glint of antler, etc. To add to the challenge, these bucks often do not show themselves very often at all. The Big Boys might only poke their noses out of the timber a couple times in a month at best, and you need to be able to pick up on subtle color differences in low light to spot them when they do.

As an example, we chased a mule deer in 2011 we dubbed “Magnum”. During the hunt for Magnum, we would not see him for days. Often it was 6 days between sightings and sometimes the sightings were very brief. When you’re putting this kind of effort in for one animal, you need all the optical advantages that you can get.

A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

While hunting for “Magnum” I was carrying Swarovski 10x42 binos, Swarovski 15x56 binos, a Swarovski 20x60 ATS HD spotting scope and Docter Optic 30x80 binoculars (Big Eyes - which I wish Swarovski would make) and using every one of them. The harvest of that magnificent deer can be attributed, at least partly, to the Swarovski optics that I had at the time.

When Swarovski’s new modular spotting scope came out, I was admittedly scared of the price. So for the first year I continued to use my 20x60 ATS HD model. I remember thinking to myself, “I love this 20x60 spotting scope so much, and how much better could the new model actually be?”

A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

My change of heart came while hunting for a giant buck we called “Snag.” The client that I was hunting with, Tim, brought the latest and greatest Swarovski modular 30x70. I remember telling Tim, “No matter what I say, don’t let me look through that scope. I have spent enough money on Swarovski optics! I already have the EL Range binos, the Of Non-Typical Outfitters15x56 binos and the 20x60 HD model.”

Well, as fate would have it, one day Tim and I were looking at some bucks at well over a mile. ”Snag” was not among them, but they were a couple of nice ones for sure. Well, Tim says, “Do you see that cheater on the wide 3x4?” I could not see it. “Oh wait,” Tim says, “He might have two cheaters!” Well, I love looking at cheaters, so that was all it took. “Okay, let me see that scope.”

A Hunting Guide's Perspective on the Quality of Swarovski Optics

The proof was in the pudding. I could not believe the difference the 95 objective and 70 power made. I was sold! I carry the Swarovski angled modular scope to this day. Happily.

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