Yup. Think you are right.
All the scrapes and rubs popping up now are the "signing phase" which can sucker a guy into thinking its pre rut.
Prerut starts around Oct 25.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf5-PYCijNA
Conservative approach proly the winning strategy.
My area turned on yesterday, signing phase (been suckered before).
But Im gonna hunt anyway, as the spot Im gonna sit is a travel corridor and I saw the buck use it at 830 am.
Small parcel hunting, lots of other factors.