Jim Dutcher

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Jim Dutcher (born c. 1940), is an American naturalist, cinematographer, director and author. He has written several books and made nature films about wolves. Jim and his wife, Jamie Dutcher, are creators of the documentary Wolves at Our Door.


In 1990, Dutcher was given captive pups and was allowed a permit to set up a 25-acre wolf observation camp in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, where he stayed, later joined by his wife Jamie Dutcher, until 1996, raising and documenting the captive pack of wolves and their socializing behavior. The wolves, which became known as the "Sawtooth Pack", then became property of the Wolf Education and Research Center (a non-profit organization he founded) in conjunction with the Native American Nez Perce and moved to northern Idaho.

Dutcher made several films and books about the Sawtooth pack. The Sawtooth Pack became famous worldwide and very popular with the public. The original pack started out with two wolves, Makuyi and Akai, who were both saved by the Dutchers. Later, the pack grew to include Kamots (the Alpha), Lakota (the Omega), Matsi (the Beta), Motomo, Amani, Chemukh, Wyakin, Wahots, Motoki, Piyip, and Ayet. Piyip, the last remaining original member of the Sawtooth Pack, died on July 5, 2013 at the age of 17.

Dutcher began producing documentary films in the 1960s. His early experiences with a camera were spent underwater on the Florida coast. In 1985, Water, Birth, the Planet Earth, his first television film, initiated a career spent with animals that range from tiny hatchling sea turtles to one of the top ranking predators on the continent - the wolf. Dutcher's extraordinary camera work and the trust he gains from his subjects have led audiences into places never before filmed: inside beaver lodges, down burrows to peek at newborn wolf pups, and into the secret life of a mother mountain lion as she cares for her newborn kittens. His work includes the National Geographic special, A Rocky Mountain Beaver Pond and ABC World of Discovery's two highest rated films[citation needed]: Cougar: Ghost of the Rockies (1990) and Wolf: Return of a Legend (1993), winner of a News & Documentary Emmy Award for Informational or cultural programming.[1] Wolves at Our Door (1998) was nominated for three Emmy awards and Living with Wolves (2005) received a single nomination.

In 2006, the Dutchers founded the non-profit organization "Living with Wolves." Dedicated to educational outreach, they travel around the country to bring about a better understanding of the true nature of wolves and how important they are to a healthy eco-system.


Year Work Functioned as Notes
Director Cinematographer Producer
1985 Water, Birth, the Planet Earth No No Yes National Geographic Explorer
1993 Wolf: Return of a Legend Yes Yes Yes ABC's World of Discovery
1997 Wolves at Our Door Yes Yes Yes Discovery Channel
2005 Living with Wolves No Yes Yes Discovery Channel


Dutcher won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1998 for the wildlife documentary, Wolves at Our Door, for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming, and was nominated for Outstanding Non–Fiction Special.[2] The 2005 film and book, "Living with Wolves," continues the story of the Sawtooth Pack for which Jim was nominated for an Emmy awards for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming Emmy.[3]


  1. ^ "ABC, CBS Win Nine Emmys for News, Documentaries". LA Times. 10 September 1994. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Emmy Awards: Jim Dutcher". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Living with Wolves". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 16 May 2016.

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