I started deer hunting when I was 8 around 1980. I used my grandpa's single shot .410 with slugs and never got a shot at a deer. I got my first centerfire rifle for Christmas when I was 10 and it was a lever action Winchester model 94. Standard set-up was whatever gun you could afford and a platform foot piece climbing stand with a hand climber, and that was it. You would slide the hand piece up the tree and hang on while you pulled the foot piece up with your feet. When you got high enough you turned around and sat on the platform on the foot piece with your legs dangling. Those were the most uncomfortable stands ever conceived of but they worked, and pretty much everyone used that stand or sat on the ground. The two piece climbers like today didn't get popular until the mid 80's.
You would see every gun conceivable while hunting, but lever action 30-30's and surplus military rifles were the most popular. Lots of Mausers and Lee Enfield 303's. But this was a poor region in the early 80's and deer hunting was a poor man's sport back then. Clothing also reflected that. Most people wore surplus Army BDU's or bluejeans and flannel. I remember going hunting with just a couple of bullets many times because I couldn't afford to buy a box of bullets. But there was lots of land you could hunt back then and that's what I miss the most. There was so much public land that you could always find a good place to hunt. But then the hunting clubs came along and started leasing everything and that was the end of public land except for National Forestry, which sucks.