You make a great point in that often the deer just decide to do something different than what we are convinced they should do. I hate when that happens!
There are probably many reasons why this could be happening but I will try to point out a couple that make sense to me. First, except for the breeding season, bucks and does tend to follow different paths/routes. I suspect that some of the deer are definitely using the saddle (probably does) and that maybe the bucks were using the other trail system. This will change as the rut kicks in and the bucks shift into the does' travel patterns. The other reason could be that the deer feel very safe in this area and don't feel the need to use the saddle, particularly if the other trail pattern you found is closer to the food.
You mentioned acorns, saddles, ridges and hardwoods. It sounds like you are definitely in the right spot, just need to fine tune your stand selection (and you might need multiple stands for rut and non-rut times). If possible, I would find a stand site that is close enough to the saddle and the other trail to hunt both. Assuming it works with the prevailing wind pattern, that spot sounds like pure gold to me.
Internet Pro Staff Member - Indiana
Glad to talk to all of you, but I'd rather be sitting in a tree stand on a cool morning trying not to move so that the bruiser buck directly below me doesn't figure out that I am watching him!