Wow, that is quite a bit of experience I must say. Pretty damned lot to be honest. I don't have that experience or have read those books so you definitely do have a lot of knowledge and personal experience to bring to the table. I honestly wish I could spent that much time outdoors.
I do see that we both agree a 12 gauge is the best option
Not sure where the OP went lol. But I think he got his answer.