"Tracker" by Gary Paulsen is about a boy named John Borne who is forced to take over his family's annual deer hunt. When John's grandfather gets sick and only has months to live, John assumes the important role of providing for his family.
The book begins with the main character, John, reflecting on his parents' death in a plane crash and how his life has changed since he came to live with his grandparents in Minnesota. Ever since the move, John and his grandfather have gone on annual deer hunts to provide food for the following year. When John's grandfather is diagnosed with cancer, John begins preparing to complete the hunt on his own.
Once in the woods, John sees a doe and tries to shoot it. However, the doe repeatedly escapes his many attempts to hunt her. John ends up following the doe for two days, convinced that the deer holds mythical powers that might be able to heal his grandfather. As the days pass, John becomes more interested in touching the dear to transfer its powers to his grandfather than hunting it to provide food for his family.
Paulsen uses the wilderness as the setting for John's transition from boyhood to adulthood. The theme of harmony between nature and humans, death and survival are all prominent in "Tracker."