A Woman Among Wolves

My Journey Through Forty Years of Wolf Recovery

Table of contents


Chapter One: Minnesota Inspirations
Chapter Two: Northome
Chapter Three: North Fork Baptism
Chapter Four: Kishinena
Chapter Five: Logger Justice
Chapter Six: Sage
Chapter Seven: Catch Me If You Can
Chapter Eight: Phyllis
Chapter Nine: From Bass Creek to Spotted Bear
Chapter Ten: My European Vacation
Chapter Eleven: People and Places
Chapter Twelve: Lions and Wolves and Bears, Oh My!
Chapter Thirteen: Slaying the Super-Wolf
Chapter Fourteen: Fear and Wolves
Chapter Fifteen: Trout Creek
Chapter Sixteen: Dark Times Return
Chapter Seventeen: Resilience

Further Reading


A debut memoir from one of the first women in the United States to study wild wolves in their natural habitat—a story of passion, resilience, and determination.

"This is a book about a courageous woman. Often alone in wild country, she endures hardships and faces danger in many forms …. It is a book I highly recommend: informative, fascinating, and beautifully written." —DR. JANE GOODALL

“A gripping and vital portrait of wolf repopulation. It is impossible not to root for Diane, or for the wolves.” —ERICA BERRY, AUTHOR OF WOLFISH

Called the Jane Goodall of wolves, world-renowned wildlife biologist Diane Boyd has spent four decades studying and advocating for wolves in the wilds of Montana near Glacier National Park. When she started in the 1970s, she was the only female biologist in the United States researching and radio-collaring wild wolves. With her two dogs for company, she faced the rigors of the Montana winter in an isolated cabin without running water or electricity.

Boyd fearlessly forded icy rivers, strapped on skis to navigate thick stands of lodgepole pine, and monitored packs from the air in a tiny bush plane that skimmed the treetops so she could count wolves and see what they were feeding on. She faced down grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolverines—and the occasional trapper—as she stalked her quarry: a handful of wolves that were making their way south from Canada into Montana. Resilient and resourceful, she devised her own trapping methods and negotiated with locals as wolf populations grew from the first natural colonizer to more than 3,000 wolves in the West today.

In this captivating book, Boyd takes the reader on a wild ride from the early days of wolf research to the present-day challenges of wolf management across the globe, highlighting her interactions with an apex predator that captured her heart and her undying admiration. Her writing resonates with her indomitable spirit as she explores the intricate balance of human and wolf coexistence.


"This is a book about a courageous woman. Often alone in wild country, she endures hardships and faces danger in many forms in her passion and determination to better understand and protect the wolves she loves. It is a book I highly recommend: it is informative, fascinating, and beautifully written."
—Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE & UN Messenger of Peace

“Every wolf’s life is an adventure story, but what about the biologists who study them? Diane Boyd’s memoir begins with a sedated wolf unexpectedly waking up in the back seat of her truck as she is rattling down a road in the Montana backcountry. Just another day in a forty-year career filled with amazing stories about wolves and the people who live alongside them. Highly recommended!”
—Nate Blakeslee, author of American Wolf

“The story of a woman in a career dominated by men, tracking wolves as they return to a world dominated by humans—Diane Boyd’s book is, in more ways than one, a gripping and vital portrait of wolf repopulation. Whether tracking the oft-forgotten wolves who wandered into Montana over a decade before Yellowstone reintroduction, or collaborating with scientists in the Italian alps, Diane Boyd offers readers a front seat into this legendary American conservation story. It is impossible not to root for her, or for the wolves.”
—Erica Berry, author of Wolfish

“Diane’s spirited story closely intertwines with that of the wolves she studies. A captivating and informative must-read.”
—Paul C. Paquet, biologist and editor, A New Era for Wolves and People

“A page-turning story of inspiration and resilience—on the part of both creature and researcher—that will send chills down your spine.”
—Peter Stark, author of Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison's Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation

“Boyd shares her scientific curiosity, compassion, perseverance, and a large dose of true grit while imparting the human complexities of wolf restoration.”
—Toni K. Ruth, wildlife conservation scientist

“Diane Boyd’s singular memoir of her years with wolves – with wolves and people – is fascinating and vital. During her long years as a biologist, she served this magnificent species with dignity and intelligence. Now she serves it still further, with this most excellent book.”
—Rick Bass, author of With Every Great Breath and The Ninemile Wolves

"A thoroughly engaging dispatch from a pioneering female biologist about a life spent trapping wolves, evading grizzly bears and, hardest of all, navigating the world of humans, in America’s wildest place.”
—Jim Robbins, author of the award-winning The Wonder of Birds

“Diane Boyd’s life-long journey as the United States’ first female wild wolf biologist is a must-read for anyone interested in and curious about the history and process of natural wolf recolonization in the northwestern United States. Engagingly written with sincerity, humor, and occasional anguish, the book chronicles the return of the wolf, important aspects of wolf ecology, and the volatile hallways of human hostility, fear, compassion, and politics Boyd and the wolves had to navigate.”
—Dick Thiel, board member, International Wolf Center

“This powerful story of adventure, dedication, and good science is a must-read for anyone interested in wolves and conservation.”
—Dr. Lu Carbyn, retired Research Scientist, Canadian Wildlife Service. Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta

“In this fascinating account of how wolf research is carried out, Boyd describes in marvelous detail the struggles and successes of wild wolves and biologists who study them. Highly recommended.”
—Rick McIntyre, author of the Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series

"Boyd chronicles the excitement and challenges of being not only the first woman but the first person to follow the first wolf returning to Montana's wilderness."
—Ed Bangs, former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery coordinator for the US Northern Rockies

A Woman Among Wolves is more than just another wolf book. World-renowned wolf biologist Diane Boyd straps you into the passenger seat (sometimes alongside a wolf!) and takes you on a wild ride through four decades of wolf recovery.”
—Colleen Marzluff, Wildlife Biologist and co-author, with John M. Marzluff, of Dog Days, Raven Nights.

“A must-read for anyone with a sense of adventure and an interest in learning what it’s like to live with controversial issues in tough times. Why? Diane will look you in the eye and tell you. Just like a wolf.”
—Douglas W. Smith, retired Senior Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park

“Diane Boyd is a shining example of Aldo Leopold’s vision of a true field biologist.”
—Maurice Hornocker, author of Cougars on the Cliff

“I recommend A Woman Among Wolves wholeheartedly to anyone who loves great storytelling. It is a tale of a passionate life well lived, and of a species—the wolf—that has haunted our dreams and literature, but that few understand.”
—Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, The Last Ranger, and Burn.

"Compelling, often funny, written with the attention to detail and scientific accuracy only a fine researcher can achieve, this delicious book is one of the best books on wolves I have read, combining a wealth of thrilling stories of wolf trapping and tracking with sharp insights into the challenges of managing the coexistence of wolves and humans."
—Luigi Boitani, biologist and president of the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe

"No one is more qualified than Dr. Diane Boyd to tell the story of wolf recovery and research in the northern Rockies. Diane broke through gender barriers in the 1970s, has decades of first-hand wolf research and population management experience in the field, and writes eloquently about wolves and wolf ecology as she take us along on her journey."
—Jim Williams, author of Path of the Puma, Biologist and Partnerships Manager for Heart of the Rockies Initiative, and retired Wildlife Program Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks