When I first started hunting, there was some research I had to do to figure out where exactly I can hunt in Northern California. I realized I don't think folks in California realize how close they are to public lands and that you can hunt and camp on them as well national forest up to 14 days. This is just short write up of where to search for public lands to hunt in California and tips you can use in your states.
1. Use a hunting map that makes things very easy
2. In California you can hunt in National Forrest
3. There are a lot of wildlife preservers that are archery and shot gun only. These are great areas to hunt because they require a decent amount of hiking and it cuts down on hunting pressure.
4. In California A zone north and A zone south are the largest zones that provide highest chance of success. Search for pubic lands in these areas for good hunting opportunities.
5. Considering getting an Archery only tag because that will allow you to hunt in zones A, B and D zones which will increase your hunting odds.