Wolves at our door: the extraordinary story of the couple who lived with wolves

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Pocket Books, Feb 5, 2002 - Nature - 302 pages

For centuries wolves have haunted the human imagination. It has been accepted as conventional wisdom that they are savage predators, creatures of nightmare. Determined to overcome such misconceptions, Jim and Jamie Dutcher spent six years in a tented camp on the edge of the Idaho wilderness, living with and filming a pack of wolves. Now, in this breathtaking and lyrical memoir, the Dutchers share their experiences of life among these wondrous animals.

Wolves are so intelligent and elusive that they alter their behavior when closely observed by humans. By socializing with the pack from the time they were pups, the Dutchers were able to gain the wolves' trust and observe their behavior in a way that few people ever have. What they witnessed was remarkable: a complex nature oriented toward family life, antic play, and strong social bonds.

Yet Wolves at Our Door is much more than a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a wildlife documentary, more than an exploration of animal behavior. It is the story of two people, brought together by their devotion to wildlife and held together by their belief in each other. It is about their struggle to keep the project alive amid marauding mountain lions, forest fires, subzero temperatures -- and the never-ending storm of controversy that surrounds the wolf.

The narrative ranges from humorous to heartbreaking and reveals some of the surprising intricacies of wolf behavior. By introducing us to the unforgettable Sawtooth Pack, Wolves at Our Door provides a window into the lives of these astonishing creatures and a fresh look at ourselves.

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Wolves at our door

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Intent on dispelling the misguided notion that wolves are dangerous, predatory creatures, the Dutchers went to great lengths to observe a wolf pack's natural, unguarded behavior: they created a 20 ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker Jim Dutcher has been producing documentary films since the 1960s. His works include the National Geographic special A Rocky Mountain Beaver Pond, and ABC World of Discovery's two highest-rated films, Cougar: Ghost of the Rockies, and Wolf: Return of a Legend. Co-producer Jamie Dutcher is a sound recordist and former employee of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Together they created the Discovery Channel's most successful wildlife documentary film, Wolves at Our Door, the story detailed in this book. The film went on to win two Emmy® Awards, one for Jim's cinematography and one for Jamie's sound. A photography book about their groundbreaking project, The Sawtooth Wolves, was published in 1996. The Dutchers reside in Ketchum, Idaho.

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