The purple paint option to post land

Using purple paint can be used to mark property boundary lines to indicate no trespassing. 

Commonly referred to as the “Purple Paint Law”, House Bill 1772 will become a law in Pennsylvania on January 26.

In the past, landowners posted their property with printed trespass notices. The trespass laws have now been expanded allowing landowners to apply a painted strip of purple paint on trees and posts instead.

Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg), who serves PA’s 92nd Legislative District and is the sponsor of H.B. 1772 said, “Too often, no trespassing signs become tattered or illegible over time. Or they are removed by nefarious acts or adverse weather conditions.”

Rep. Keefer went on to say, “This law simply gives landowners a second option to post notices that trespassing on their property is not allowed. Purple paint makes it easier to define property lines and provides a more visible notice that that private property is not to be trespassed on.”

Placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property shall be vertical lines of not less than eight inches in length and are not less than one inch in width. The line is placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet from the ground nor more than five feet from the ground, and placed at locations that are readily visible to a person approaching the property, and no more than 100 feet apart.

Not every paint that is purple can be used to warn against trespassing.

There are a number of paint manufacturers that offer the specific color of purple that can be used and are clearly marked “NO HUNTING” or “NO HUNTING PURPLE”.

PA has two exceptions to the law. One is for an unarmed person who enters onto posted property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog.

The other is, while the law is applied statewide, Philadelphia and Allegheny counties are exempted.

The law is not a new concept. In 1989, Arkansas was the first state to establish a “purple paint” law. By 1997, Texas did the same. Today, 12 states that have enacted a “Purple Paint Law include: Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Maine, Montana, Kansas, Illinois, Idaho, Florida, Arizona, and now Pennsylvania.

Robb Miller, the Governor’s Advisor for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation, said, “I was pleased when Governor Wolf signed H.B. 1772 into law.”

“The bill will take effect at the end of January and is intended to make life a little easier for those who wish to exercise some control over their own land.”

Miller pointed out, “Pennsylvania’s private landowners have a proud tradition of being very gracious towards hunters and anglers, and this new law will serve as a reminder to everyone to always ask for permission before entering someone else’s land.”

Miller also said, “The landowners of our Commonwealth deserve our respect and courtesy, and I think most who make the effort to ask to enter lands lawfully will be surprised at the outcome.”

The program is new in Pa., and it will bring with it a certain amount of speculation.

Major Jacob Dunn, who serves with the Arkansans Game & Fish Commission said, “Change is not always accepted right away. Once it was set into place here in Arkansas in 1989 landowners and sportsmen alike have accepted the purple paint law and it works for those involved.”

Travis Lau, Communications Director for the PA Game Commission, agreed with Major Dunn’s perspective on the new law. Lau said, “It will give landowners another option for posting their properties. Like anything new, it might take some time to catch on, but it seems to work well in other states that allow for similar methods.”

When choosing to use the purple paint method of posting land, there are additional considerations to consider.

In the Commonwealth, miles of forested lands within the Allegheny National Forest, State Game Lands and on the state’s State Forest Lands, paint is used to mark hiking trails, timber harvests and boundary markings.

Chris Nicholas is the District Forest Manager for the 265,000 acre Susquehannock State Forest located in portions of McKean, Potter and Clinton counties. He offered insight regarding the use of paint to mark trees.

“A number of paint manufacturers indicate their product will last 7 to 8 years, we repaint about every 5 to 6 years here in the mountains. It is important to remember that in some areas the paint will wear better than others,” he said.

Nickolas pointed out, “The paint’s longevity will be shorter on markings that face the southwest, west, and northwest. This is the direction that the harsh weather comes in from. Paint facing the southwest tends to fade from prolonged exposure to the sun. On average, trees painted should be checked every five years,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas pointed out that the timber industry can be helpful when selecting paint to mark timber.

Forestry products can be found by searching or click onto for access to professional tree marking products.

A number of manufacturers offer “purple paint. They include: Aervoe, Krylon, Rust-Oleum, and Majic just to name a few.

Jamie Stephens, manager of Sherwin-Williams paint sore in DuBois, said, “Paint that has been specifically sold for the purple paint law can be applied to a neutral colored surface, then the color can be scanned. We can then duplicate the color using a neutral base paint used for tinting.”

No Hunting Purple paint can be sprayed, brushed or applied with a roller on trees. The paint is available in 12 oz. aerosol cans with prices ranging from 7 to 9 dollars.

The purple paint option can be included with the traditional method of posting. However, the 100 foot intervals for painted trees/posts needs to be adhered to. A range finder, the type used by hunters, can come in handy when marking boundary lines and ensuring compliance.


In past years the Special Elk Conservation tag provided by the PA Game Commission to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been put up for auction at the REMF’s Convention in Arizona. But not this year.

The Conservation Tag will be auctioned off on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the REMF’s Three Rivers Chapter Banquet in Mars.

This tag allows you to hunt from September 1, 2020, through the end of the regular elk season November 7, 2020.

Phone bids will be accepted. For additional information please contact: Carl Mowry, REMF Regional Director at 724-496-3251 or by e-mail at

Charlie Burchfield is an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, and the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers. Gateway Outdoors e-mail is