My Dad often told of marching north throughout Italy carrying his heavy Garand each and every day. When he returned from the war, he bought a featherweight 300 Savage lever gun. What's the point? Dad was physically up to carrying a much heavier hunting rifle but he didn't want to do so.
I agree that modern hunters tend to focus upon lighter rifles than the past. It's not laziness, just preference. My main deer getter is a Glenfield carbine in 30-30 that has taken literally dozens of animals for me. Short and fairly light with good accuracy and power for the forests and foothills.
Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.