The variable conditions typical of winter hunting complicate the equation as well. You might encounter deep snow, but you might as easily have bare, hard-frozen ground; one day might be bitter cold, another balmy. Ironically, a warm day without snow cover is the most challenging scenario. The walking is pleasant, but the birds are at their wild-flushing worst. This is the time to go to tighter chokes—Modified in a single-barrel gun, IC/IM in a double—and to stick with No. 71⁄2 shot or, if you can find them, No. 7s.