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Pierson v. Post

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Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175, 2 Am. Dec. 264[1] (N.Y. 1805), is a property case that examines the ownership of wild animals pursued for hunt.

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Summary of case facts

Plaintiff Post was chasing a fox during a hunting trip with his hounds. Defendant Pierson, though aware of Post's pursuit, killed and captured the fox. The land on which this occurred was not owned by either parties.

Plaintiff brought an action for trespass.

Plaintiff claimed that the had effectually had title to the fox when he began to pursue it in hunt. Defendant argued that a property interest is not created by the mere pursuit of an animal for the purposes of hunting.

The trial court held in favor of defendant Pierson. Plaintiff Post appealed.


The primary issue in the case was whether pursuit of a wild animal creates a property right for the person pursuing it.

Holding and Law

The court held that a property right is not created for an individual pursuing a wild animal in hunt.

The court found that the rule that applies for pursuit of wild animals is "first to kill and capture".

The case was reversed, finding in favor of plaintiff Post.

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