Hunt v. United States
United States Supreme Court
278 U.S. 96 (1928)
The Kaibab National Forest and the Grand Canyon National Game Preserve, both in Arizona, were created by presidential proclamation under the president’s authority granted by Congress. Many predators were removed from the federal preserves and hunting was prohibited, which caused an increase in the deer population. As competition for food increased due to overpopulation, the deer damaged young trees, shrubs, and other plants. Subsequently, thousands of deer died due to lack of food. The secretary of agriculture (the secretary), acting on behalf of the United States (plaintiff), attempted to correct the overpopulation by removing deer, but this was not successful. Eventually, to protect the lands of the United States from continued damage, the secretary ordered many of the deer killed and then shipped the carcasses outside the limits of the federal preserves. Governor George W. P. Hunt of Arizona (defendant), along with other state officials (collectively, the state), sought to interfere with the secretary’s actions, arguing that the killing and removal of the deer outside the boundaries of the federal preserves violated Arizona game laws. Arizona game laws would have restricted the number of deer that could be killed. Eventually, the state arrested several individuals that killed and removed deer at the direction of the secretary. The secretary filed suit, requesting an injunction against the state’s continued interference. The trial court agreed with the secretary and issued an injunction but clarified that the secretary was not authorized to license hunters to kill deer on the preserves in violation of state laws. The state appealed the decree of the trial court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sutherland, J.)
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