Purple-painted fences or even a purple spot on a tree have a very significant meaning, and people should be aware. The splotch of color is due to something called the Purple Paint Law, a legal stipulation most commonly found in the southern states of America.
What is the Purple Paint Law and what should a person do if they see something painted purple? Well, keep reading to find out!
Purple Paint Isn’t Graffiti
Camping, hiking, or just walking about, there is a chance a person might stumble across a purple-painted tree trunk, fence, or even a post. This paint is not graffiti. In fact, the color means something very important, particularly in southern states.
And, as many police officers have said to news outlets, if someone comes across a purple-painted post or fence, they must walk in the other direction for their own safety.
Purple Paint = No Trespassing
The purple paint has to do with something southern states call the Purple Paint Law. The paint color is the legal equivalent to a “No Trespassing” sign on private property. As of 2021, 11 out of the 50 United States have adopted the Purple Paint Law.
Currently, the states include Louisianna, Missouri, North Carolina, Maine, Illinois, Florida, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, and Idaho. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the significance of the law.
It Also Means “No Hunting”
According to officers, purple-painted fences or posts typically reside on residential property. The paint is actually another way for the property owners to say “No Trespassing” on their land.
So, why no black and orange signs that actually say the words? Aside from the ever-changing weather of the states, which can knock down or destroy the signs, the purple paint means something a bit more definite. The purple paint really means “No Hunting.”
Walk The Other Direction
People who stumble upon a purple-painted post need to turn around and walk in the other direction. These posts, fences, or even tree trunks are the property owners’ way of telling people to not only stay off their land but that hunting is not allowed.
This keeps cattle and other livestock safe from wayward hunters and keeps people who actually live on the property safe from any harmful stray bullets.
About 1,000 People Die From Hunting Accidents Per Year
The Purple Paint Law is an extremely important legal stipulation that people need to take seriously. According to the International Hunter Education Association, about 1,000 people die from hunting accidents each year. This includes people in the surrounding area who were not hunting and often times not aware that others were.
In order to not become a statistic, more and more people have been painting posts and fences around their property purple.
It’s Hard To Keep Tabs On A Lot Of Land
While the purple paint is meant to keep people off others’ property, keep property owners safe, and keep cattle from being hunted, there is another reason for the paint. In states such as Texas, some landowners have a significant amount of property.
Because of this, it is almost impossible to keep tabs on all of the acreages at all times. This is where the significance of the purple paint comes into play.
Purple Paint Give Property Owners Peace Of Mind
With a lot of land, property owners will ground posts in the earth surrounding the property and paint them purple. This way, they won’t have to run a perimeter check, making sure people aren’t trespassing and trying to hunt their cattle while they’re on the other side of the farm or ranch.
The purple paint is, if nothing else, a good way to give property owners peace of mind while they’re at home.
Many People Don’t Know The Law
The hard part about the Purple Paint Law is that many people don’t know what the purple-painted posts, trees, and fences mean. They typically brush it off as just something the city, state, or town did for one reason or another.
But, the truth of the matter is, the law isn’t new. It’s been around for quite some time. It’s just that, unfortunately, the law hasn’t been on people’s radar.
Arkansas Was The First State To Enact The Law In 1987
The Purple Paint Law has actually been around since 1987. The first state to adopt the law was Arkansas. Since then, ten other states have initiated the law for themselves, hoping that it would decrease the number of trespassing charges and hunting accidents.
And people who know about the law are all about making sure people abide by it, since, to them, it can be a life or death mistake for unknowing people.
“Abide By The Law; It Will Keep You Out Of Trouble”
During an interview with Texas radio station KEAN-FM, Rudy Fernandez, known as the “One-Armed Outdoorsman,” discussed the Purple Paint Law. He said, “[My friends] said, ‘Man, what’s up with all these purple posts? People love the color purple!’”
He told his friends to “Abide by it. It’ll keep you alive in the Lone Star State, and it will certainly keep you out of trouble!” And that’s not all Rudy had to say about the paint.
Staying Away From The Purple Paint Is For The Best
In the KEAN-FM video, Rudy discusses his pointers when it comes to purple paint. One of the first things he says is, “I have a tip that will help you stay alive or at least keep you out of jail or keep you safe.”
Interestingly enough, Rudy’s tips aren’t too far-fetched. The purple paint does mean no trespassing, and in many of the states where the Purple Paint Law is in effect, that means a few things.
People Are Allowed To “Stand Their Ground”
If people walk onto someone’s property that has purple painted fences or posts around the perimeter, that is considered trespassing, an offense that can result in a call to the police or, in extreme cases, property owners taking measures into their own hands.
In many of the states where the Purple Paint Law is in effect, property owners are allowed to “defend their homes and property.” This is called the Stand Your Ground Law.
The Paint Has Too Be Sprayed A Certain Way
So, Rudy really wasn’t joking when he said that people need to be aware of purple paint if they ever see it on a fence, post, or tree. According to Central Texas Geocachers, the purple paint has to be sprayed on in a certain way to make it a “No trespassing/Hunting” sign.
Otherwise, the paint is just another splotch of graffiti that people are looking at with a confused expression.
There Are A Lot Of Painting Rules
According to Central Texas Geocachers, the purple paint “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.”
The Paint Is Also For Watercrafts And “Moveable” Property
Interestingly enough, the Purple Paint Law isn’t just for land, wooded areas, or farms. The law also protects other property, such as watercraft or even trailers. For example, the Purple Paint Law in Louisiana states, “Although not required by this Section, notice that entrance upon any structure, watercraft, movable, or immovable property owned by another is prohibited may be indicated by either of the following…”
Number two of “the following” states, “The placement of identifying purple paint marks on the trees or posts on the property…”
The Paint Also Has To Be Visible
Like any law, there are stipulations that come with the purple paint placement. The most significant being that land or property owners need to make sure that the paint they spray on fences or posts is very much visible to any pedestrian, hunter, or persons walking by their property.
In Louisiana, the Purple Paint Law states that purple paint must be “Placed at locations that are readily visible to any person approaching the property and no more than one hundred feet apart on forest land…”
The Color Purple Was Chosen For A Reason
At this point, many people might be asking why the color purple? There are so many other colors various workers paint trees and fences, such as yellow, orange, and even red. So, why purple?
Well, the color is for a very specific reason. While those other shades are important, none of them have to do with trespassing and getting potentially arrested or shot at by a distraught land or property owner.
The Purple Is For People Who Are Color Blind
The reason it is the Purple Paint Law and not the Red Paint Law or some other paint variety is because the color purple is friendly to people who are colorblind. Even without a “No Trespassing” sign, people with color blindness will be able to spot the significant color change or purple against something like a wooden fence post.
But there is more to it for people with color blindness.
They’ll Be Able To See The Differing Shade
According to Colour Blind Awareness, “someone with red/green color blindness will probably confuse blue and purple because they can’t ‘see’ the red element of the color purple.” Interestingly, this won’t matter in the case of the Purple Paint Law.
If a person knows what the law is, regardless of color blindness, they will be able to see the difference in the purple shade versus the black/brown shade of the fence. It’s just a matter of knowing the law!
Even Locals Don’t Know About This Law
Sadly, even people in states where the Purple Paint Law is in effect don’t even know its existence. In a Facts Verse YouTube video about the meaning of purple paint, commenter Beaux Jones said, “I’m TEXAN, never lived anywhere else. Amarillo, Austin, Marble Falls, Dallas, Little Elm, San Antonio, Natalia, Lytle, & Granite Shoals. I’ve never heard this purple fence law…”
Considering the law has been in effect in Texas since 1997, that really says something!