Hey, all, I'm a newbie to the forum and hunting in general. I am a Captain in the Marines, so I am not a novice to being outdoors in the elements nor to the proper use of firearms. Yet I have never been hunting and am looking to get started. I recently moved to Virginia and am hoping to make friends with someone who knows what they are doing. Between work and my new church, I'm sure that I'll find one, but in the mean time, perhaps you all can help me get started. Right now I want to hunt deer and bear. I haven't even chosen a rifle yet. I'm not sure that it is something I am going to pursue long term, so for starters I'm looking into a package from Savage. Depending on the model and trim I am looking at $600-$750 for the rifle and scope. This seems to be a good combination between price and quality. If I choose to not stick with it, I don't have too much invested in the rifle. I can always upgrade later if I like hunting. I can imagine that if i stick with it, I would want to seriously upgrade the scope later one down the line. Furthermore, I haven't decided the right size for me. I know that a .243 will do it on deer and bear out here in VA, but I am from Colorado and would like to hunt there as well. Deer and black bear get a little bigger out there, plus they have elk and bison. For this reason, I am considering something bigger than a .243. Perhaps a .30-06? All though that seems like it would be overkill out here in VA, I've read that it is entry level for bison hunting, which is something I really want to do primarily because the meat is fantastic. The plan for now is to only buy one rifle. If I go big, then I can potentially go after bigger game in my visits back to Colorado. What say the experts? I would enjoy hearing what those of you who have been through it have to say.