Many kudos for picking up this great sport. Most of us on HPA have been in the woods since we were born, and most of us can't imagine what it's like to jump in headfirst like you are. It sounds like you're doing a lot of research and going about things in a pretty methodical manner, so you're definitely on the right track.
The toughest part hands down is gaining familiarity with your hunting area. I'm admittedly not a very good deer hunter, but I am able to fill a lot of tags because I hunt good areas and have become very familiar with them over many years. There's no substitute for years of experience, but with the advent of apps like OnX Maps and Huntstand, it's a lot easier to scout and learn your hunting area. I'd download and learn to use those apps, but you'll also want boots on the ground. At this point, you'll probably be better off with some armed scouting missions during the season, but get in there in February after a good snow and see how the deer use that area without significant hunting pressure. YouTube channels like The Hunting Public spend a lot of time explaining how they choose their hunting areas, and are entertaining to boot. If you opt for the public ground, just be mentally prepared to deal with some questionable "hunters". There's plenty of threads worth of public land horror stories on here, but there's also tons of success stories as well. Don't shy from public, but just be prepared for the ugly side. If you encounter others on public, a quick flip of the flashlight is usually sufficienct to let them know you're there. General rule of thumb is if someone is already at your spot when you get there, you move on. If you decide to let your stand on public, having someone else in it is a risk you run. They might be willing to leave if you can prove ownership of the stand.
As far as a stand, I would just hunt from the ground until you get your feet under you a bit, and then invest a good climber or portable lock-on with climbing sticks. Get good at carrying them in and out each hunt. Questionable folks can't steal what's not there. IMO, stands are a lot more valuable for archery, but they have their place in the rifle season in certain situations.
If you find success in the field, you'll have to be prepared for what that entails. Field dressing is a fun experience, especially the first time. Again, YouTube is your friend there. I tend to keep my cavity opening as small as necesary, so it doesn't gather a bunch of leaves and dirt on the drag out. I've found that dragging them using my four-point treestand safety harness makes that task significantly easier, but a good, stout rope with a wooden handle gets it done as well. In other situations, packing out may be the better answer, and is actually my preferred method anymore. That'll require a good hunting pack that's capable of securing game bags full of meat, a decent knife, game bags (I use old pillowcases), and a basic knowledge of whitetail anatomy. Research the gutless method that's popular out west... once you've done it a few times, it becomes quite simple. I believe legally, you need to transport the head out with you if you decide to pack out.
Once you've gotten your critter out of the woods, make sure you have a line on a good local butcher, or have a decent butcher knife in your arsenal. A 6" semi-flexible boning knife will handle just about anything. I take a lot of pride in seeing my deer through from field to table, so that'd be my recommendation. Again, plenty of info out there on how to butcher your own.
Aside from that, spend plenty of time practicing with your new rifle (that caliber of Browning topped with a Vortex is an excellent choice, BTW). Shoot on the bags to establish a good zero, but also practice offhand and using a tree as a rest... basically replicate your shooting situations in the field. A pair of shooting sticks is probably a good purchase.
A season afield will be a fine adventure and a great learning experience, so slow down and have fun with it. Good luck, and we all look forward to hearing about your season.
"Well boy, you ain't gonna git nothin' layin' in that bed." ~My ol' man
Last edited by jmbear12; 11-17-2019 at 11:07 AM.