Frontier Justice by Bryan D. Spellman


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Featured in the Montana group.

Think we have a coyote problem in Montana? When I was a child, I saw billboards across the state reading “Eat Montana Lamb. 50,000 coyotes can’t be wrong.” Apparently this rancher in the Big Dry area of Garfield County, Montana, thinks the other coyotes will take warning from his display. I’m not sure that will work.

Taken March 26, 2010 in Garfield County, Montana.

Nikon D80 DSLR, Nikkor 16-85 mm wide angle/tele/zoom lens set at 46 mm.

ISO 125, f /9.5, 1/60 second.

Finished in Photoshop CS4.

Born in Montana, raised in California, I’ve been holding a camera most of my life. I particularly love photographing the grand landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.

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  • dougf
    dougfalmost 5 years ago

    Not pretty to some, but a great capture and “telling” of life out here in the frontier west as it still exists in many pockets.

    (just maybe the first one in from the left is a fox???)

  • Looks more like a fox to me—both in size and coloring. I did question myself before I posted this picture, but bottom line is this. Driving down the highway, I passed this scene, slammed on the brakes, did a U-turn and grabbed the shot. It’s true Montana life, pretty or not. In Montana, it’s legal to shoot a domestic dog if it’s worrying your cattle or sheep.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • dougf
    dougfalmost 5 years ago

    Not too much different “next door” in Idaho. It’s what sets this part of the country apart form much of the rest. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • I know what you mean. While chatting in the lobby of the Kempton Hotel, an old fart came downstairs, one step at a time, carrying a 22 rifle. I thought, “Only in Montana,” and what I said was, “Wait a minute, this isn’t a Starbucks.” When asked what he was hunting, he indicated he was after gophers, rabbits, anything that ran, basically.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • debbiedoda
    debbiedodaalmost 5 years ago

    Oh this is dreadful, how terrible to hang them like that! OHHHHHH!

  • It’s fairly common out here. What can I say?

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • GiselaSchneider
    GiselaSchneideralmost 5 years ago

    This is a treasure Bryan! Montana lifestyle in the country. I hope you do not get negative feed back from to many viewers and those who view will respect western culture. I like your clarity, composition and high horizon line. Great image technically and cultural representation!!! So very well done!

  • Thanks for the kudos on the technical aspects. Coming from you that really means a lot. As for the “cultural representation,” all I can think of currently is a parallel to Matthew Shepherd. It’s not just coyotes we hang on the fence. That said, could I live anywhere else? Not very happily.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • Donna Ridgway
    Donna Ridgwayalmost 5 years ago

  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadealmost 5 years ago

    Yep, I remember those from some years back, but haven’t seen any around Bozeman. We have a clash of tree-huggers and tea-parties and whatever they’re calling each other this week. It isn’t simple, but it’s peaceful most of the time except on the editorial page…

  • And let’s hope it stays peaceful. Haven’t seen any scenes like this in western Montana either, but I’m sure that once upon a time….

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • GiselaSchneider
    GiselaSchneiderover 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture, so very well done ! 6/1/10

  • Thank you so much for your comments, for featuring my work—and for asking my permission before doing so, even though you really didn’t have to do that.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • GiselaSchneider
    GiselaSchneiderover 4 years ago

    You are so welcome Bryan, great image that speaks volumes !

  • Ann Rodriquez
    Ann Rodriquezover 4 years ago

    Well-captured, Bryan…well-captured indeed. Such is life (and such is death) in the great state of Montana.

  • Indeed, indeed. Although I have to say that in driving thousands of miles around the Treasure State, this is the only such display I’ve seen of late.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • anniepage
    anniepageover 4 years ago

    Back in my Dad’s day in Montana, he would shoot wolves and coyotes, hang them on the fence like this.At that point of his life his Dad was raising sheep. I have a problem with it, but do undertand it. I lived in Montana and have seen the old farts with the guns…
    My Dad also had a saying I’m sure he got from his Dad—-“The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Not sure he shot any, never saw them hanging on a fence in any of his photos.

    A good photo, certainly speaks lod and clear for the western way of life.

  • Times are definitely changing. As I noted in a previous response, this is the only such display I’ve come across in the past several years. When I was a child, they were much more common.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

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