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Hey, Wilson, welcome to the club and to hunting. I'm one of the old-timers here - that means I have more hunting years behind me than ahead of me, but every hunt is a treasure.
Here's my take on your question about an AR-style rifle for hunting. Although I don't personally like their looks, if you can get one that is accurate enough for the ranges that you will be shooting and powerful enough (and legal) for the size of the game, then I guess they're OK, especially if you feel comfortable shooting them. Rifle feel and fit is important. Let's also remember the basic design of what we now call traditional hunting rifles (and calibers) were first military rifles before they were used for hunting.
On the other hand, there is something called public image that we hunters always need to keep in mind. TV programs and movies almost never show gangs, terrorists or any bad guys using bolt-action or any sporting rifles. Usually, they have the modern military or tactical stuff, and these two distinct styles are preceived very differently. And so, the modern military-style rifles turn off lots of non-hunters and hunters - they even scare some non-hunters and hunters. Hunters scaring people is not a good thing. Especially if kookie organizations, like PETA, will point at them and say, "See, hunters and terrorists - same thing!"
A couple of years ago a very popular hunting writer, by the name of Jim Zumbo, criticized hunters who used AR-style rifles by saying he thought they looked like terrorists. As a result, he lost his job and was ostracized by hunters in general. I think he was right, but, again, that's just my opinion.
If you would consider a "compromise", you might look at the synthetic stainless rifles that have a little more traditional look, but also have some of the characteristics of the ARs (light weight, short-barrels, semi-auto, etc.). There are penty of guys in this club to give you suggestions about specific rifle/caliber combinations.
As hunters, we need to encourage young folks, like you, to join us in our sport. There just isn't anything else like it, but, unfortunately, it's becoming more and more misunderstood. Perhaps twenty years from now most hunters will be using AR style rifles, but just as likely maybe twenty years from now hunting will be a thing of the past. Let's not just hope that doesn't happen - let's do whatever we can to prevent it from happening.
Best of luck in your future of hunting,
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