Twelve-year-old Joey MacTagert's dad wants his son to carry on the family tradition of hunting. But Joey has "buck fever"--he can't pull the trigger on a deer, and hates the idea of killing animals. He's more interested in art and hockey, two activities that his dad barely acknowledges.
Joey's dad wants him to use his special skill in tracking to hunt down the big antlered buck that roams the woods near their home. Joey knows how to track Old Buck, but has kept secret from his father the reason he's gained the deer's trust. When trouble between his parents seems to escalate, Joey and his older sister, Philly, find themselves in the middle of tensions they don't fully understand. Joey wants to keep the peace, and if conquering his buck fever will do it, he has to try.