Many states have laws providing a certain color paint to be used in
place of costly signs for posting property. You may have noticed
"posted purple" paint on trees and rocks in certain states and
wondered what all the marks were for.
These marks, when placed properly, are assumed to be "posted - no
trespass signs". Certain states have enacted laws providing for the
use of purple paint to post property boundaries. The use of written
posted signs are still recommended at access points, such as gates.
Unlike signs, marks are not easily removed or torn down and do not
have to be replaced often. In order to post your property using this
paint method, the following is required:
Place purple paint marks on trees or fence posts
Marks must be vertical lines at least 1" wide and 8" high
The bottom of the mark must be between 3' and 5' of the ground
Marks must be placed at locations readily visible to person
Marks must be no more than 100' apart on forestland and no more
than 1000' apart on non-forestland
The major drawbacks to this method are concerns over excessive
amounts of paint on trees ruining the visual quality of our rural areas
and the public's lack of knowledge of thelaw. Each landowner will
have to make his or her own decision on whether or not the paint is
visually offensive to them and their property. With increased use of
this marking practice, and perhaps some publicity from landowner
associations, the public should become aware of the meaning of
"purple" boundaries, making them as effective as posted signs.
During many landowner interviews for private forestlands research projects, one of the questions
asked is "Do you lease your property for hunting?" Too often the reply from absentee landowners
is "No, no one hunts on my land." I hesitate to respond, yet, unfortunately if a landowner or their
agent is not able to closely monitor their property, it most often is hunted! These parcels are the
ones that you might think twice about visiting during hunting season, as there is a good possibility
of encountering unauthorized hunters on the property.
Landowners may ask "Why can't we keep the poachers out, are laws not enforced?" Usually, as
long as landowners are complacent and continue to allow unauthorized use of their property, all the
laws in the world will do little good. As with most private forestland issues, the real power lies with
the landowners themselves. Here are a few recommendations to help prevent trespassing and
poaching on your property:
Join your county landowner and forest landowner associations.
Form alliances with neighboring landowners.
Ask a friend or relative who lives in the area to routinely patrol the property.
Lease the property to a reputable individual.
Make regular visits to property, move objects around, mow lanes, etc.(make it evident someone
has been there.)
Call the local game warden or sheriff if you suspect trespassing.
Gate roads and other access points to property.
Put up posted signs and/or clearly mark boundaries with "posted" purple.
The best deterrents to unauthorized use of your property is the periodic presence of authorized
individuals and evidence of frequent use of the property. Landowners who live on or near their
property are ahead of the game in this area. Absentee landowners are presented with the problem
of frequent travel to visit their property or with finding someone to periodically visit for them. One
alternative is to lease hunting rights of the property to a reputable, local individual. This person will
have a vested interest in keeping unauthorized persons off your land.
The bottom line to help prevent trespassing and poaching is for landowners to stand together, and
for each property to have a local individual with a real interest in the conservation of the property,
whether it be the property owner himself or a trustee.
No Trespassing means
CAUTION: Do not rely upon this
information for legal advice. See an
attorney for legal counseling tailored
to your specific situation and needs.
Most states are now following the above guidelines with some variations. An example of not adhering to the
purple markings or no trespassing signs would be as follows. Under Missoui's law:
"The statute provides that any person trespassing onto property marked by purple paint can be found guilty of
a first-degree trespassing charge. Any unauthorized entry onto property marked with the purple paint marks is
considered a trespass. First-degree trespassing is a Class B Misdemeanor, with potential punishment of a
maximum $500 fine and/or a maximum of 6 months in jail."
(Other violations which would subject a trespasser to first-degree trespass are: (1) entering a property posted
with "No Trespassing" signs; (2) refusing to leave property once told to do so; and (3) coming onto land fenced
All land marked with purple paint in the
manner proscribed by the state's statute
is considered to be adequate notice to
the public. It fulfills the same function as a
"No Trespassing" sign, a fence, or telling
someone not to come onto your property.
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So when "it" hits the fan, what happens when the ammo you had stored
eventually runs out? Or government shut down, or one reason or another
you simply can't get it any anymore? Ever thought of a good crossbow
for hunting or to add to your emergency kit?