I took my first deer with a 30-06 at the age of 18 and the last one at age 53. 30-06 is a great round. So's a 308 and the other rounds mentioned are fine for white tails. a 30-30 or 35 rem are great brush guns for deer. they are also lighter. But they are less versatile than a 30-06 or .308. It's a trade off.30-06 would work for most any North American game. It can be a bit much for whitetails and your shoulder, but some of the new 125-140 grain rounds are more than comfortable to shoot a lot of. Many manufacturers make solid bolt action rifles in 30-06 or even .308 (cheaper ammo) in the $400-500 or less range (Savage, Remington, Mossberg). These can often be found as package deals with a basic scope that will be fine to start with (I have had one like this for 20 years and it still works). Good luck.