Little deer have little hooves and droppings, medium-sized deer have medium-sized hooves and droppings and big deer (mature bucks) have the biggest hooves and droppings (buck droppings are commonly clumped in fall). For these reasons, five classes of whitetails and their currently used trails and feeding areas are easily identified by lengths of their fresh hoofprints and droppings.
“Currently used by deer” is never permanent in whitetail hunting. There are dozens of reasons, especially hunting, why whitetails normally or often change trails and sites they use during hunting seasons. Trails and sites they are using today are plainly marked by very fresh deer tracks and droppings. With care on the hunter’s part, deer that made those fresh tracks and droppings are likely to be in the same vicinity (not necessarily on the same trail), later today, tomorrow morning anf evening and perhaps the next morning but don’t count on it after that, at least not until after the vicinity has been avoided by hunters 4-5 days or longer.
Whitetails are most visible and vulnerable to skilled hunting while active—up and moving about. While bedded midday, they are nearly impossible to spot. Ordinarily, they are most active, feeding, during the first four legal shooting hours of the day and the last two or three legal shooting hours of the day. Certain weather conditions can occasionally trigger midday feeding, however. From mid-October until the two-week primary breeding phase of the rut ends in the second half of November, mature bucks are occasionally seen on the move during any midday hours. A key to hunting success then is, don’t miss a minute of morning and evening hunting hours, but don’t rule out midday hours.
You are a mature-buck hunter while well hidden stand hunting downwind or crosswind of the larger fresh tracks and/or droppings made by a mature buck. Except during a rare lucky moment in your life as a deer hunter, you are not a mature-buck hunter while moving about on foot.