I'd be in stand every chance i could durin rut...If he's big an old like stated he's smart,if he's avoid'd you this long....I'd take a Big pocket full of Luck with me to...lol...
I totally agree!! I would try to find some areas with what appears to be big buck sign and then try to figure his travel routes and directions. A buck's direction of travel can be figured by which side his rubs are on the trees. Finding a rub line gives definite clues as to the direction of travel and by pondering for a bit, you may also be able to figure whether typically travelled late or early (to food or too bedding areas). But, as already said, spend as much time as possible in the woods during the pre rut and peak rut, hoping to see him searching and/or chasing. An all day sit in a stand can be very productive as studies have shown good movement during midday hours when many are snoozing and BSing. Stick it out and stick it to him!
The rut can be great for general buck movement and sightings, but also hard to hunt one specific deer. If he is as big as you say, and if he is the dominant buck, he could be hard to find. When the rut comes along, some of those mature bucks will expand their area of operations, so to speak, and go searching for does. This will take him out of his normal routine. You may not see him in you area as often. Also, if he does find a receptive doe, he will shack up with her for 24-48 hours, give or take, so he may never leave their bedding area. That would be a good place to look, if you can sneak into his bedroom, where you think he's tending the does. Then, the rut can work for you. You will fins tons of big bucks shot during the rut, but the odds of it being the exact buck you targeted are not great.
However, I would prefer to hunt earlier in the season, if you have it available to you. Hunt the food sources, when the deer have not been bothered all summer long, and tend to hit the same field every night or every other night. They are more predictable, and easier to pattern at that time. This works good in post rut scenarios too, when the bucks are looking to gain back alot of that weight they lost chasing those does. Looks for a good late season crop and sit on it.
As I sit and glass, which is common for hunters out west, I have sort of quickly discovered something I never learned when I was younger.
In my youth I had enthusiasm and spirit. In my middle to advancing years I have creaky knees, arthritis, and I tire more easily than I used to. Where I used to sit on the cold hard ground I now look for that soft spot to sooth my tired muscles. That leads me to my tip.
Carry your soft spot with you!
In my pack I carry an air filled, ultralight, camping pad....