No matter where you live, if you’re out hiking or hunting and notice fence posts or trees with stripes of purple paint on them, stop. Turn around and go back the other way immediately. Your life isn’t in danger but your wallet is. Pennsylvania Hunters have something new to watch out for with Deer archery season opening this weekend.
Purple stripes used for people repellent
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania joined a growing number of states to adopt a “purple paint” rule, which allows property owners to use the distinctive pigment to mark “no trespassing.” The law went into effect at the beginning of the year but with hunters about to go out chasing Bambi’s dad through the woods with bows and arrows, the Game and Fish Department decided it was a good time to issue a reminder.
Missouri adopted a version of the law in 1993 and Texas signed up in 1997. North Carolina and Illinois have a similar measure on the books. According to a notice put out by the State Game Commission, hunters should “keep an eye out for purple paint on trees or posts. If you ignore it, you will be considered a trespasser.”
Landowners, explains Information Coordinator Bill Williams, “use purple paint as a means of posting their property against trespassers.” It gives landowners the option of either paint or posted signs, to alert others that lands are private, and visitors aren’t welcome. That doesn’t mean banjo playing hillbillies will come after you.
Fines and penalties
Pennsylvania hunter Dave Nicholls of Bushkill told local news that he’s not so sure about this new color scheme. “I’d rather see the signs than the purple paint.” Anyone can just walk around with a can of paint now, and ruin his hunting grounds. “Oh, I can’t hunt here, or I can’t hunt here. I like signs. Plus, they have the owner’s name on it and everything like that in different areas. I think it’s more visible.” The way he puts it makes it seem like he’s more interested in hunting the names of property owners than small game. Fellow sportsman David Winters isn’t real happy either. “I mean, I usually just go on state gameland or private property of my friends. I stay in one spot, that’s pretty much it. I am not trying to look for any paint.” He may not be looking, but if he sees any it would be a good idea to go elsewhere.
In Pennsylvania, ignoring the colored stripes could cost you “up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. And if trespassing occurs while hunting, additional game-law violations – and additional penalties – also might apply.” The landowner has a responsibility too. “Vertical purple lines must be at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. The bottom of the mark must not be less than 3 feet or more than 5 feet from the ground. And painted marks must not be more than 100 feet apart.”
The only places in Pennsylvania which aren’t covered by the new law are Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, which are major metropolitan areas where paint might not be as noticeable. Everywhere else is encouraged to use the practice. One advantage is that a stripe of paint does no damage to trees but nailing a notice up does. “Purple is a kind of unusual color to see on a tree. It’s an easier way for landowners to post property, and it’s less time consuming for one thing. A lot of times, these posters are nailed into trees which don’t do good to the trees anyway,” said Williams.