Pierson v. Post
Supreme Court of NY - 1805
- P was pursuing a fox while hunting with his hounds on a remote piece of property that no one owned.
- D killed and captured the fox even though he was aware that P was pursuing it.
- P sued D for trespass.
- Trial court found for P.
- NY Supreme Court reversed, found for D.
- Does the fact that a person is pursuing a wild animal give that person the right to the animal?
- The mere fact that a person is pursuing a wild animal does not give that person the right to the animal.
- Mortally wounding or killing the wild animal would be sufficient to show possession since this limits the natural rights of the animal.
- Possession of wild animals should be confined as such as to preserve the peace and order in society.
- If the first who sees or pursues a wild animal without wounding or trapping the animal had possession of the animal, this would give rise to much litigation.
- This should be settled by the law of sportsmen, not by the law of the courts.
- Possession should be given to the pursuer if he is pursuing the game with large dogs.
- Majority rule does not leave much room for question, possibly why it is the majority rule.