Did radios in the army so have been around the block or two with them!!
HAM radios are great if the people who are going to use them are genuine enthusiasts, as HAM is a hobby in its open right.
For the average hunter who wants nothing more sophisticated than push-to-talk, stick with FMRS/GMRS. CB radio falls sort of inbwtween the two..
The problem with FMRS?GMRS is the frequencies allocated mean that they are essentially line of sight in hilly country. Sure you buy a 5 watt handset and it will work better than the basic 1/2watt models, but in hilly or difficult terrain, the improvement is often minimal, and those steep deep valley botoms will still be dead spots..
CB radios on the other hand use different frequencies which are less "line of sight" and will cope with undulating terrain much better. Generally the handsets are slightly more bulky but you have the option of going with different styles of antenna. Plus you can get proper "rigs" for vehicle use, which at least in the UK are not legal for our version of the FMRS system.
With regards HAM, the sky is literally the limit, and you are only restricted by operator knowledge/skill and $$$$$. To get the most out of HAM, you really need a degree of dedication, s think about it carefully before convincing buddies to go down that route...
getting the technican license (entry level) is really, really not that hard and it opens you up to a whole new world of comms. The problem with CB is the antenna, your statement is true on propagation (generally), but the antenna on a handheld (as well as the ground plane) will be a hinderance. Any time you go lower in the frequency (CB band compared to GMRS/FMRS) the longer the antenna needs to be to be resonant.
I know you mentioned base operations and that can be a different game, but handheld is what most folks would use this for.