Trails form in places where deer (and other animals) regularly travel between two points. Trails generally form where it is most convenient to travel between the two points.

Setting up an ambush point along a trail is an excellent strategy, provided you know where the trail is coming from and where it is going. Because of seasonal changes in food sources, a trail that leads to an actively used food source may be a great spot, while a trail that leads to an abandoned food source may not be as good. However, the trail that leads to an abandoned food source may also lead to important escape cover that deer will seek out when hunting pressure increases. Knowing why a deer is using a particular trail is an advanced deer hunting skill that accumulates with time.

In many instances, especially in hilly or rolling terrain, deer trails (or more accurately game trails) follow terrain features and are easy to predict by using topographic maps.