I'm not really sure what to say, since what you said pretty much says it all....
There is all different kinds of radios - all of which, with the exception of Family Radio Service - FRS and MURS - requires some sort of license.
Most Motorola Bubble Pack Radios are a dual type - GMRS / FRS, with a fixed antenna, one half watt FRS / One Watt GMRS...
Ok, and did I mention that they require a license? That is somewhere in the neighborhood of $85 for 5 years, and it covers your whole family.
Then you also have to abide by the FCC rules. Legal ID - etc..
Only a fool would spend $85 for the license and then spend $20 for the radios..
If you have a license, you can buy a more profession version of their radios, from a two way radio shop.
Maybe even subscribe to the shop owners repeater service.
Maybe even eliminate the need for the license, if you can use the Two Way Radio Shop's licensed repeater.
Rule of thumb, all effective range is Line Of Signt - LOS.
When you put anything in between the two radios - hills, trees, rain, fog, snow, it can attenuate the signals.
What you are looking for is reliable reception.
I don't know of anyone on this forum that can guarantee you reliable reception with any model of radio using UHF, without the assistance of a repeater.
A repeater is simply another radio system, usually built by someone, that affords you a greater range, by placing the repeater antenna in a very high place and allowing that antenna to transmit further then the antenna on top of your handheld radio.
By doing this, each radio only needs to be able to be heard by the repeater, not the other radios receiver / antenna.
The repeater receives your signal - called the input, and rebroadcasts it on another frequency - called the output.
The repeater isolates your signal from other repeater signal by using a sub auditable tone - CTCSS, sometimes called a PL
Effective range of a handheld on flat level ground is about 2.4 miles, using 400 ish mhz.
This range can be increased by moving to the top of a mountain, or decreased by moving down into a valley or behind a hill to just a couple hundred yards..
Unfortunately, amateur radio wouldn't be applicable, since everyone would need to be licensed and would have to follow the rules as per the Part 97.. I'm not real sure what the rules are when it comes to using a radio to try to kill animals in Virginia. In Pennsylvania, they are very specific..
You can use the radio to keep track of the whereabouts of your hunting party, but you cannot use them for the purpose of maneuvers used to harvest animals..