If you keep going west, things get thick again. Sitting here ~45 miles from the end of "west" it always cracks me up to hear tell of that more open western hunting.
Anyway, all kidding aside, I like the mid-power variables myself for hunting. There's a whole lot of perfect-for-that living in a good 3-9'ish scope. I refrained from extemporizing on this earlier in the thread and just stuck to the OP's question but for me, scopes in the 2.5-8, 3-9, 3-10 range git 'er done nicely from near to far without physically overpowering my light rifles. I like to practice at longer ranges and the 8,9,10x on the top end works fine for me.
HOWEVER, I do think that we all have our own eyes to please and so on, and, at least half the fun of the gun loon hobby is playing with new toys. To that end it's rare that a truly definitive statement can be made in the rifle optics world.