As has already been said, you showed tremendous discipline and restraint in not taking the shot you were presented with, and congratulations are in order.
And yes, the quality of the hunt on public ground is lacking as you`ve described, and yes, loud hunting clothing is a pain as well. Until you can get new hunting clothing, you`ll just have to make your movements extremely slow, (which they should be anyway), to minimize the noise.
As for hunting from the ground, nothing wrong at all with that. Likely, more deer have been killed from the ground than by elevated positions, and some prefer the ground.
As for your questions;
1) Setting up from the ground, you want some cover both behind and in front of you to break up your outline. Unlike turkey and coyotes, white-tails cannot determine you to be a human based on your outline, but they will know "something" is there, as well as pick up the slightest movement, so breaking up your outline is crucial. Also, any depression in the ground that you can sit in helps. The very best ground blinds are naturl, such as blow downs. Lay any gear you think you want or need out to have accessible and again, to keep movement to a minimum.
2) Use calls sparingly, especially when calling "blind". Deer use vocalizations, but aren`t excessive with their vocal communications, except for certain, and rare situations. Normally, they are very quiet, secretitive animals. Any "pro" you can watch and hear on videos and hunting shows will help give you a feel for volume and timing of calling.
3) Deer, outside of the rut, are TYPICALLY most active at dawn and dusk. That being said, many deer are killed throughout the day. I`ve killed deer at 2:00 pm as well as early and late. The closer to the seeking and chasing phases of the rut, the more likely ou are to see deer movement at any time of day.
4) Very insightful question you ask here....yes, you`ll bump deer moving through to get to your hunting spot, but don`t get too worked up over it. Deer are creatures of prey, and they`re paranoid because of it. They assume everything and everyone is out to get them, and they respond accordingly. And, IF they could, they certainly would vacate an area they`d been pressured in, to never return. Fact is though, habitat, and more importantly, habitat that they are intimately familiar with is extremely limited, so they will return, they`ve no options. One heavily used tactic is to bound off, then slowly circle back to near the place they started. In fact, I bow killed a huge 8-pointer that field dressed over 200 lbs two seasons ago when I bumped him as I neared my ladderstand. I dropped down into the swale, he bounded away, and I had been in my stand no more than 45 minutes when he reappeared and bedded down 40 yards in front of me in a blowdown. I watched him nap and groom for 3 hours before I took my shot just before legal shooting time expired.
You may also want to keep a grunt tube handy walking in, if the deer don`t wind, or see you, a soft grunt might calm them down.
5) Learning to judge distance is a skill that you`ll always practice to keep sharp at. It takes some time to get proficient, and some people need more time and work than others. Mark off 10 yards in your lawn, visualize that, burn it into your minds eye, then it`s easy to simply "roll" that 10 yard block over, end over end in your minds eye to then judge 20, ever 30 yards. It`ll take constant practice.
6) Best yardage to kill a deer...recoreds show, most bow killed deer are killed between 10 and 25 yards, so that`s your "bread and butter" shot. For a beginner, you may want to limit your shooting to 20, or even 15 yards until you get more practice time with your weapon, but that will depend on your shooting ability and the cover in the area you`re hunting. You`ve already shown you have one important ingredient, and that`s the discipline to not take a questionable shot.
7) Playing the wind, as much as it will allow you to, is crucial. Especially when hunting from the ground, you want the wind blowing away from where you anticipate deer movement to originate. Develope a strick descenting regimine for both you, and your clothing, it`ll allow you to see and kill many more deer. I recommend the Scent Killer products from Wildlife Research Center, but I`m sure the others are good as well.
8) Even when hunting public ground, which in some places, seems almost limitless, your time to scout IS limited, and there are certain areas the deer travel, smaller areas still they travel frequently, so you must hunt the same areas with some frequency, it simply can`t be helped. Learnign to enter and exit your specific hunting area with the least amout of disturbance possible helps, as does the scent control program we discussed in point 7. The more "stand sites" you can establish the better so you can rotate thru them, and even hunt them based on wind direction, the better, but it`s limited.
9) Loaded question here, there`s much disagreement as to the timing of the rut from season to season. Suffice it to say, some rut activity should be occuring anywhere from late October to late November any deer season, with the peak being somewhere in the time frame. The rut is usually looked at as having 3 stages, Seeking, Chasing, and Tending. Tending is the lock down, when the receptive does are actually being bred. It`s an interesting topic, read all that you can about this.
10) In choosing a hunting spot, you`re trying to first understand why, then when the deer would be there, determine the best, least disruptive entrance and exit strategy, and pinpoint the very best ambush location for that immediate area. Whether farm land or big woods, deer, outside the rut, travel primarily from bed to feed, then feed to bed. In the big woods, the tast of locating feeding and bedding areas is more difficult, simply due to the large amount of ground available to them. But hard mast, such as oaks, are huge draws for hungry white-tails, and preseason scouting should allow you to locate and mark Oak flats, so that you can check for production and timing of drop. Bedding areas in the big woods can be thickets, swamps, swales, and, seeing a trend? Any dense, thick area, that doesn`t allow predators to approach silently, while giving deer the opportunity to flee well ahead of any approach. Additionally, deer, primarily bucks, like to bed just off the top of ridges with the wind blowing to them from behind, so they can smell potential danger from behind, while seeing any potential danger approaching from ahead. At times deer will bed in blowdowns in saddles and ravines as well. While there are no set bedding areas, as deer will bed in different places from day to day, with scouting and actual experience in hunting a given area, you`ll learn the preferred bedding areas that bucks and doe familys will use, then it`s just a matter of guessing correctly on any given day, as to where they really are, and being set up to intercept them.
Welcome to the Forum, you`ll get a lot of solid advice here, and these are good people, willing to share everything they have.