Just my .02...
1) I think your chances will be based on what unit you draw. I live here and took one in Jan on an archery hunt but went with a buddy of mine in Nov and he tagged out in 2 hours with a rifle.
2) I didn't have any either when I moved here. I was on a limited budget and while great glass is the way to go there are options that won't break the bank. The Vortex Diamonds are in that price range or the Redfield Rebels. I have the later and was very pleased with them. 10x42 is the way to go. If you wanted to spring a little more I think for the price you will have a hard time beating the Vortex Vipers.
3) Really nothing, I hunted whitetails back east my entire life and use much of the same gear with a couple exceptions. Buy good boots! This cannot be overstated! You will hike your butt off. It may be sand dunes or mountains but you will have to get out and hoof it. Light weight rain gear, I had some Russell rain gear that kept me dry but man is it heavy. I bought some lighter stuff and it makes life easier. And I got a nice hunting pack. Day hunts are fine but what if you down a mule deer 2 miles from the nearest road. i'm assuming a DIY hunt here. You have to pack it out and a good pack like an Eberlestock pays huge dividends.
4) I killed my mule deer wearing realtree ap in the sand dunes. You just need something to break up your pattern. I do like the Predator camo in the 3d but haven't bought any yet.