‘The Hunt as History and as Game’

Angela Fernandez, Pierson v Post: The Hunt for the Fox (2018); Angela Fernandez, Pierson v Post in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions (forthcoming 2020). Most American law students are familiar with Pierson v Post, a case that has been a fixture in American property law casebooks for well over half a century. Decided by the New York Supreme Court in 1805, Pierson v Post is used in property law courses to illustrate the question of how property rights arise in wild animals. Today, it is frequently taught alongside cases exploring how property rights arise in contemporary contexts such as ground water, human genetic materials, baseballs hit into stadiums crowded with fans, and the like. The facts of Pierson are simple and memorable: Post is in pursuit of a fox on a beach in Long Island when Pierson interrupts the hunt and kills the fox. Has Post acquired a property interest in the fox by virtue of the fact of being engaged in pursuit of it? The New York court deciding the case canvassed a range of European authorities going back to Justinian … (more)

[Kunal Parker, JOTWELL, 9 December]

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