Though they’re common in rural areas of several states, most people have no idea what it means when they see a fence post painted purple. Knowing what it means could save you a trip to jail, though.
In 1997, Texas passed a law stating that purple paint means ‘No Trespassing.’ Other states which now have the same legislation include Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Maine, Florida, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana, Arizona and Kansas.
The reason behind it is that these states, in particular, have unpredictable weather and “No Trespassing” signs can be easily blown away.
And as any Texan understands, if someone has a sprawling patch of land, how are they supposed to monitor their property’s borders if they have to do so much on a daily basis? It’s just too much work for anyone to do on top of farming their land or managing their cattle.
Because the landowners in Texas and other states with the purple paint law have so much land to watch over, they probably wouldn’t notice a single “No Trespassing” sign missing in the first place. It’s not like they go around checking on that every day.
Besides telling any passerby that the land beyond belongs to someone, the purple mark is also known as “No Hunting Purple.” It signifies to hunters that this property belongs to an individual and to stay clear. It can help keep people out of their properties and keep people safe from stray bullets.
Central Texas Geocachers maintains that property owners must abide by certain standards with the purple paint marking. They “must be: vertical, at least 8 inches long, at least 1 inch wide. [The] bottom of the mark should be between 3-5 feet above the ground. Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland. Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land, [and] they must be in a place visible by those approaching the property,” according to the group.
If you live in Texas or some surrounding states, you may have seen a post or pole on the edge of someone’s property spray painted purple. This isn’t just a choice in lawn decor, there’s actually a reason for it that you may not be aware of. According to the Purple Paint Law, states like Texas allow landowners to paint a fence post or pole on the edge of their property purple to signify “No Trespassing.” Why no signs? Some landowners might have signs, too, but acclimate weather has a tendency to knock those signs down. Painted posts convey the same message without the fears of being knocked down.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows the true meaning of these painted posts, which can actually be quite dangerous. While the posts signify no trespassing in general, they specifically refer to “No Hunting” on the owner’s property. This is meant to not only keep cattle safe but to keep the owner and their family safe from potential stray bullets.
This is an extremely important law to abide by. About 1,000 people are shot and killed in hunting accidents each year, many of these are people not involved in the hunting trip at all, but living on the property where the hunt took place.
An example of the Purple Paint LawSnopes
The Purple Paint Law isn’t just in place to keep landowners safe and their land or cattle intact, it’s also meant to assist busy farmers who cannot possible monitor a large spread of land. As any Texan understands, it’s incredibly difficult to constantly keep an eye on their property’s boarders, especially if the owner has a full day or owns several acres. It’s just too much work for anyone to do on top of farming their land or managing their cattle.
So farmers and lawmakers alike trust that civilians will recognize the meaning of a purple post and keep clear of that land.
Although you may not have heard of it, the Purple paint law is not new. Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was born, first instituted this law back in 1987. So if you’ve accidentally wandered beyond a purple painted fence or gate, you’ve broken the law. At least now you know what it really means and hopefully it will keep you from wandering past this point again.
A number of states utilize the Purple Paint Law in order to signify “No Trespassing” – it may be your state has this law in place without your knowledge. Here is the list:
According to Central Texas Geocachers, to act as a “No Trespassing” sign, purple paint markings in Texas “must be: vertical, at least 8 inches long, at least 1 inch wide. [The] bottom of the mark should be between 3-5 feet above the ground. Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland. Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land, [and] they must be in a place visible by those approaching the property.”