Deer hunting public land pointers
Listen to what others say at the parking lot with a grain of salt. They may say they have not shot a deer in 5 years to throw you off, or they may just be bad at what they do. I've had guys tell me that already at places where I shot deer every year. Find out yourself if there are deer there.
Avoid squirrel hunters. If you pull up and see some hondas or toyotas, go to the next spot. Sorry if people are offended but its true.
My best memory of public land hunting so far has got to be when a guy came in and was going to climb a tree 10 yards from me. I whistled at him and he moved out to 30 yards away. I was between him and where the deer came from so I didn't care much, but you'll run into guys once in a while who think that is an acceptable distance. I basically had the last climbable tree on a thick edge. Only saw 1 that day and it was a doe fawn. It walked by me at 10 yards and started in that guy's direction. I watched him draw his bow and he was moving all around like he was trying to get a shot at it in some stupid way. He never did let one fly, but I think he really wanted to. Quite the clueless guy, you'll find them on public land. It was quite comical to watch though. My guess is his pin covered up the whole deer since it was about 50 lbs.
Set a max distance to drive for day or evening hunts - say 25 miles from home.. Add 10 miles. Consider every parcel of public land within that circle. "Cyberscout" them thoroughly. Then boots on the ground. If icefishing severely suffers,then spring fishing and early summer...if you've already spent hundreds of $$$ in gas before the season starts...then you might be close to ready once bow season starts.
Pick the top 5 parcels you think you may do well at. Be prepared to abandon them because of hunting pressure or changing food sources. Have another 5 you can abandon. You may end up seeing more deer and fewer hunters in your 12th pick.
Spring turkey season can give some idea how popular an area is but nothing beats scouting....Most people don't cut "shooting lanes" but a good many make more discrete cuts. Look for those. Pick your trees when scouting,then look at them closely for climber marks and trimmed branches. You can still hunt those trees if someone else has been but don't be surprised if one day he gets there 10 minutes after you're all set up. And he spoils both your hunts...That "phenomenal rut funnel" probably will have 4 guys sitting there in early November: Look for secondary or tertiary pinch points to hunt during the rut....