Deer will always take the path of least resistance. If you have already made a path for them, they will use it.
A guy i know mows paths in grass/cattails to get to/from his stands silently without rubbing against all the vegetation.
The deer love these trails that he mows and use them just like humans use a sidewalk.
As long as the tracks are scent free i dont think it will effect deer movement. In the summer i always try and take the path that i want the deer to use in the fall during archery season. Then when it comes season time, between me and the deer using the trail it is already well established.
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