I started out with the 30-06 when I was 17 and it was a great gun. BUT, at the range I found that after about 12 to 15 shots I could not hold it steady any more. The recoil had taked its toll and acuracy fell off sharply. Then I started using the .308 and with out a doubt I have found the one! Everything stated above is true about this caliber. It takes the deer down....decisively! The short cycle is real nice for a follow up shot even though it usually isnt necessary. The much more tolerable recoil and amazing knock down power makes it feel like a trusted and reliable friend. I have taken many deer and a bear and none talked back.
I just wanted to add this.
The .308 is very accurate and powerful enough out to 200 yds, and where I hunt I never have had an opertunity to shot more than 140yds. By far the majority of shots are 75yds and under.
If you were hunting in an area that your shots could go more than 200yds then I would opt for the 06.
When I hunted Colorado I took a 7mm along for a lot of long walks. No shots.
Just about any centrefire rifle will work for deer, the tricky part of deer hunting isn't killing them its finding them. The most common "deer" calibres would be .243, 30/30, 25-06, 270, 7mm08, 308 and 30-06. Like I said though it's more a factor of what you like and shoot well than anything.
If you're used to shotguns and know your shots will be closer than longer you may even want to considering using a shotgun slug.
Here is a tip that was passed along to me - and I have not tried it yet - but it looks (and smells) like it will work fine! The gentleman that gave it to me regards it as his secret weapon and he is a VERY successful hunter.
Get a fresh tarsal gland off of a decent buck - I think the ranker, the better. Taking them off of bucks that are hot in the rut seem to be the best because that is when the glands are the darkest and have the most "male buck" scent...
Take that gland and put it in a good,...