Hi, i'm new as well. From IL (most of my life) but, parents owned 5 acres on Wasson Lake (Bigfork, MN). I lived in Hibbing for a year after high school.
Aging 45 y/o still in Illinois, would like to move to TN before it's all said and done:-)
One of the most important components of deciphering a new hunting area is distinguishing between the summer and winter ranges for the game that you plan to pursue. Without knowing this you cannot make reliable assumptions about where the game will be come opening day. Knowing these areas will allow you to take the current weather (as well as the past couple weeks) and apply that to the landscape and make an educated guess as to where you might find that big buck or bull.
There are a couple ways...