Animals of a wild nature and any property which has been abandoned by the former owner may be made the subject of ownership by reduction to possession.
Property may be without any private ownership. In such a case it belongs to the sovereign as the representative of the people. It does not belong to the sovereign in the sense that property does which is owned exclusively by the sovereign. Thus, the state of Illinois may own property in the same sense that an individual may, but its ownership of wild animals is of another nature, in this, that anyone may take the title by reduction to ownership. Any such animal can become the subject of ownership by the one who so reduces him but animals of a wild nature remain the subject of ownership only while they are confined or kept within the control of the capturer, or domesticated. If a wild animal escapes or is allowed his liberty and not recaptured, he becomes again without ownership except by the state. It is also true that the state for the benefit of the people may make such rules concerning hunting or killing wild animals as it deems expedient.
50. Kincaid v. Eaton, 98 Mass. 139. In this case money was left in a bank and discovered by a customer. Held, bank legal custodian thereof as against discoverer.
If one is a trespasser upon the land of another he cannot reduce to his possession the wild animals upon that land.51
One acquires title to fish in the same way that he acquires it to other wild animals. One cannot fish in the waters belonging to another but he may fish in public waters except that the abutting owner has the exclusive right to the shore above high water mark. For example, any one may fish in the Great Lakes but may not trespass upon the land of riparian owners, in order to do so.52