An essentially conventional but neatly handled story of hunting and growing in which the young hero manages in true J novel fashion to bag his buck and save it, too. Vermonter Chris Strong, his first year out, sights a ten-pointer that he doesn't get a chance to shoot. But there is also a ""little buck"" who will be a young ""teenager"" the following year, and so Chris waits from one season to the next with his eye on that one, Meanwhile a fresh air child from the city throws back Chris' just caught fish because it's ""beautiful,"" and Dad and Grandpa express their disapproval of killing does and youngsters -- so when Chris does come face to face with the young buck he can't pull the trigger. But just in case sportsmanship is not perceived as its own reward, Chris' decision is immediately followed by the arrival of last year's ten-pointer, whose shooting not only provides glory for Chris and meat for the family but is fair game as well. (As Grandpa had said, ""That big fellow's going to eat up all the winter feed, starving the youngsters out. They don't need him, and we do."") Despite the shortage of depth or originality, Crompton integrates the lesson with solidly evoked textures of working-class family life in rural Vermont, and occasional passages from the young deer's point of view help to woo readers to the author's.