Why Ignoring Purple Paint on Trees Or Posts In Texas Could Land You In Jail
When out hunting, fishing, walking around, or just exploring there are some things that you need to be aware of when stepping foot on land that isn't yours. And in rural West Texas, you can often step foot on land that isn't yours and with hunting season around the corner, stepping foot where you shouldn't can get you in real trouble.
Have you ever seen a tree or a part of a fence post painted with purple paint? Well, it's not a bad paint job, it is actually a warning sign. It's the Purple Paint Law that was passed in Texas in 1997, and the warning sign in paint has legal standing. So what does it mean? The purple paint is a warning to all, "No Trespassing".
In Texas, and several other states, a landowner can simply mark trees and fence posts with purple paint as a warning to others who are hunting, hiking, geocaching, or just find themselves in the wrong spot that they are trespassing and need to leave. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, ignoring the purple paint could land you in jail since it acts as a "Notice" of trespassing.
"Notice" means: an oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner; or fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock; or a sign or signs posted on the property reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden; or the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property. If purple paint is used, then the purple paint must be vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and not less than one inch in width; placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground or more than five feet from the ground; and placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than: 100 feet apart on forest land or 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land.
Ignoring purple paint on land that isn't yours could result in a Class B Misdemeanor which could lead to 180 days in jail or up to a $2,000 fine. Penalties could actually increase if you are caught with a deadly weapon. Ignoring the paint could also result in injury as other people may be hunting or simply protecting their own land.