IMHO, shooting 9's just gets too many cripples or fly offs/long glides. They also make longer shots tougher. But I guess if you're a great shot and shoot clays all the times with 9's, and limit to close shots - then go for it. I stay away from them on actual birds.
I generally have a mix of 8's and 7.5's with me on the hunts. Since I usually go on guided hunts, I am not sure of the conditions. Some times they take us to spots where the birds are easily ambushed and the shots close. Then I grab a box of 8's. Other times, the setup turns out to be longer shots, on birds that are in the open/passing shots. Then I grab a box of 7.5's.
And yes, I have been known to grab a few 6's and put them in my pocket, just in case conditions indicate. Once, with our setup, after the initially flurry of birds, the birds changed the flight paths and were avoiding the hunters. They seemed to figure out how to stay just a little out of normal range out a ways in the field, moving fast. You really couldn't reposition on them. Most of the guys were missing them at that distance or just getting feathers. I remembered I had a box of 6's, and voila - started dropping more than my share at extreme ranges. Since then, I always keep a box of 6's in the truck - just in case.
Edited by John Humbert (08/29/15 12:23 AM)