Thanks very much for the great replies and good perspective! Where I used to hunt back in Alabama, the poachers were very fond of the .22 Magnum, including one High School kid who made his monthly car payments via deer, night-shot at $25.00/head, delivered, unprocessed (back in the 70's.) Needless to say, we were not at all fond of the poachers!! My first 2 deer ever were taken with a 6" S&W model 29, right after I came back from a summer spent training 7 days a week at Bullseye pistol shooting with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. I learned that a pistol, even one as powerful as the .44, would definitely kill a deer, but lacked the dramatic killing power of centerfire rifles, and that marksmanship was absolutely the key. Since then, I've had wonderful results with the 7x57, 139 gr. at 2850, and lately, the .257 Roberts, 100 gr. Ballistic Tip at 3000 fps. Both kill very quickly, and with a carefully-placed double-lung shot, waste very little meat.
I'm getting back into cast bullets in rifles after a long absence, and loving the art, science and challenge of it. As I edge toward retirement (hopefully, someday...), I can see doing a lot of iron-sight, cast-bullet rifle hunting. In the meantime, it's mighty tempting to take the old Colt along when squirrel hunting as a back-up in case a deer shows up, but my sneaking suspicion is that as you say, it isn't the wise first choice.
Duke, thank you for the kind words, and I appreciate the thought! Interesting that your father had such great luck with his 47-lb Bear bow! I grew up shooting a Bear 45-lb recurve constantly after school, all at unknown distance targets. Cedar shafts and the old sheet-metal, diamond-shaped broadheads, no sights or release aids. The local squirrels were in mortal danger! :-) I recently looked into that again, and arthritis has made that totally unfeasible. However, perhaps a compound set at 45 lbs would be workable!
Thanks, all, and please keep the replies coming! I love being able to benefit from other's experiences, and there are a lot of folks here who have accumulated a whole lot of wisdom along the way! Please share!