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Pierson v. Post

    Citation.3 Cai. R. 175, 1805 N.Y.

    Brief Fact Summary. One man chased and pursued a fox, but another man killed it and carried it away. A dispute as to who had possession of the fox arose.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Mere pursuit of an animal does not give one a legal right to it.


    Facts. Post and his dogs hunted, chased and pursued a fox along the beach. Pierson was aware of the chase, and he killed the fox and carried it off. Post claimed a legal right to possession of the animal, and the lower court agreed with him

    Issue. Does a person obtain possession of a wild animal by chasing it?

    Held. No. Judgment reversed.
    Merely finding and chasing a wild animal does not give a person possession. Even merely wounding the animal will not give right to possession. The animal must be captured or killed in order to constitute possession.

    Dissent. When a person spends his day hunting a wild animal and comes close to reasonably capturing him, another person should not be allowed to claim possession of that animal.

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    Discussion. Merely pursuing a wild animal does not give rise to possession of it. Another person will have the right to capture or kill that animal.

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