When hunting in rifle country, my all-time favorite is my 30.06 with 180 gr pointed soft points. Usually Remington. This load is time-tested, respected, and with good reason. A neck or shoulder shot usually means zero tracking time...
When hunting in shotgun country (here in Western New York) I rarely use a shotgun anymore. I usually use either my muzzleloader or a handgun, with loads as follows:
Muzzleloader: 2 Pyrodex pellets pushing a 240gr Powerbelt Aerotip. I rarely shoot past 100 yards, and at that range, it is truly a bone-crunching combination.
Handgun: .44 mag (Taurus M44 or Ruger Blackhawk). I've tried various loads, and handload for the pistols now, and have settled on this: 240 grain jacketed soft point, pushed by 10.9 grains of Unique powder. As of this year, I've killed five deer with this load, from small does to a huge 8 pointer, and the load is deadly. It's nowhere near what the experts call a "hot" load. It doesn't need to be. That heavy bullet, inside of a hundred yards is a lethal projectile. For those of you who can do it, but haven't tried it, I highly reccomend trying handgun hunting.
Hope you all have a great new year.