I'm from the deep south also, the Bayous of Louisiana. I have been killing whitetail for almost 40 years with 270 win and 308 win. Now I'm also going to hunt elk for the first time this year.
I think I'm going to bring one of the new Rem 700 XCR in either 300 RUM or 338 RUM. The reason I'm going with the larger rounds is if I see the bull of my dreams at 400 yd walking away. I would not take that shot with my 270 win, but with a 338 RUM and a 250gr TSX I wouldn't think twice, just put one at the base of the tail.
The reason I would choose a XCR is that it comes with a Houge stock thatyou can send to Knoxx Industries and have them put one of their reoil systems in. It will reduce recoil over 50%. I have one on m 416 rem and it kicks like my 270. They charge $129.95 plus shiping.
Also it's much quiter than a break.
Check out their web site they have a video demostration on thir sit that is verey impressive.