I am using visual studio code to retrieve source from the org and then deploying changes in ant using the package.xml. Is there a way to grab the history field tragging flag for the standard field "owner" on my custom object? Owner doesn't seem to be listed as a field on the object..
OwnerId is a system field that is not retrievable by the metadata API.
However you can still deploy the history tracking property. In your custom object xml file, just add the following:
<fields> <fullName>OwnerId</fullName> <trackHistory>true</trackHistory> </fields>