If You See Purple Paint While Hunting in Texas, Leave the Area Immediately
If you're renewing your hunting and fishing licenses, you should also take a second to familiarize yourself, your family, your hunting buddies, or even your neighbors with Texas' purple paint law while you're at it.
Have you ever been hunting, hiking, or camping and come across purple paint on a fence, structure, or tree? In Texas, that paint is a warning that you could get in trouble or possibly even hurt if you don't turn around and find another place to hunt or set up camp.
That paint serves the exact same purpose as a sign reading 'No Trespassing'. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Penal Code Section 30.05 states that purple paint on posts or trees on a person's property carries just as much weight as the traditional sign. Many hunters and hikers already know this, but every once in a while you hear about someone who didn't getting into trouble or even wounded by a property owner defending their land.
What's more, some people who know what the purple paint means may not be aware that it's illegal to pursue wounded game across a private property line without the consent of the landowner. That means you could be arrested if you shoot a deer and, for example, it runs onto someone's private property and you chase after the animal to retrieve it.
If you see any purple paint at all, it's probably a good idea to leave the area right away, but here's what to look for in particular:
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. These are required to be no more than 100 feet apart on forest land or 1,000 feet apart on land other than forest land.
So, why purple paint? According to the video below, purple was chosen because it stands out and because even color blind people can see it.
Another interesting fact to note: Texas' penal code also considers "the visible presence on the property of a crop grown for human consumption that is under cultivation, in the process of being harvested, or marketable if harvested at the time of entry" to be just as valid a 'Do Not Trespass' warning as a sign or purple paint, so no chasing a deer into someone's corn field.
If you want to brush up on what you absolutely shouldn't do while out enjoying Texas' beautiful natural resources this hunting season, check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife website's Hunting Laws, Penalties & Restitution page.