I think to much is made about brands of rifle's. Some are known to be more accurate out of the box, Savage, and some easier to accurize, Remington 700.
I think that all are well made but appeal, cosmetically, to different tastes.
I've had some problems with one major brand recently but many more people haven't with the same brand. Savage has a reputation for outstanding out of the box accuracy but many people call them ugly. Many people are singing the praises of the new Mossberg's at Wal Mart, say they really shoot great. I think they are ugly.
I think what you really need to do is find a rifle you like to look at and that feel's good when you hold it. If you don't like looking at it or holding it, you probally won't want to shoot it much either. Then it's a good bet you won't shoot it as well as you should!
As for the cartridge, there are so many that serve multiple purpose it's ridiculess. The 30-06 is a fine cartridge that'll do probally all you ask it to do IF you do your part. That is learn to shoot, feed it well (choose proper loads), and very important, learn where to shoot at an animal. ie: it's lungs ain't in it's butt!
I agree with Don. The Savage can't be beat for the price. I'm not as much into the looks of a rifle I plan to use. I have nice looking rifles I use only at the range and I have dead ugly rifles I love in the woods. The animals are not going to care if you kill them without a custom rifle.
Being a bowhunting I've always been fanatical about scent control. Whether it's sprays, carbon clothing etc. I've tried it. The best thing that I have found for eliminating human scent is Betadine. It's been used in hospitals and homes for decades as a defense against infections on minor scrapes and burns. It can typically be found near the pharmacy in any of the major "one stop shop" stores, and a bottle will last multiple hunting seasons.
Before every hunt possible I...