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Pierson v. Post

Todd Berman

InstructorTodd Berman

CaseCast "What you need to know"

CaseCast –  "What you need to know"

Pierson v. Post

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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.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

The issue, as stated on the appeal, was whether Lodowick Post, by the pursuit with his hounds in the manner alleged in his declaration, acquired such a right to, or property in, the fox as will sustain an action against Pierson for killing and taking him away.

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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.

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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