i hunt exclusively public lands in SE PA (some of the worst in the country) and have taken a few deer. i scout any chance i get. i walk in the woods, i take the kids on walks in the woods. i use it as parts of science projects. any chance I get, i'm up there, with the kids, alone, with friends, alone whatever it takes. then i spend season getting one shot. it can be done, but it takes alot more work than public land hunting.
based on PGC numbers, i calculate that 1 in 7 public land hunters is successful annually in PA, the number is much lower in the SE part of the state outside of the special regulation area (1 in 12 or so with 1 in 30 buck)