With spring upon us, everyone's gearing up for hunting season, hiking season, and flowers blooming. While you're out exploring the wilderness, there's some things you should keep an eye out for, just to make sure you're not putting yourself in a dangerous or unlawful situation.

While you're enjoying those natural Virginia beauties, you may come across trees marked with purple paint. It's important that you know what this means, and why you should turn around immediately.

Are These Markings Even Important?

The short answer is yes. These markings are able to take place of a warning sign that you should know so you don't end up in legal trouble. Both North Carolina and Virginia have laws with purple paint, so pay attention if you live on the border.


According to NC Wildlife

In North Carolina, the Landowner Protection Act (H762) "clarifies existing trespass laws, for the purposes of hunting, fishing, and trapping, to specify the requirements for written permission on posted land only."


H762 "Allows landowners to post land using purple paint marks or by placing signs or
posters, as currently allowed."

Virginia Courts Say

According to Code of Virginia 18.2-134.1 which outlines the state's laws when it comes to trespassing on private property,

A. The owner or lessee of property described in § 18.2-134 may post property by (i) placing signs prohibiting hunting, fishing or trapping where they may reasonably be seen; or (ii) placing identifying paint marks on trees or posts at each road entrance and adjacent to public roadways and public waterways adjoining the property. Each paint mark shall be a vertical line of at least two inches in width and at least eight inches in length and the center of the mark shall be no less than three feet nor more than six feet from the ground or normal water surface. Such paint marks shall be readily visible to any person approaching the property.

B. The type and color of the paint to be used for posting shall be prescribed by the Department of Wildlife Resources.

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Purple paint is able to be used as an alternative to signage to show property lines and private land posting.

There are some rules to how the paint is hung, however.

Each paint mark must be a vertical line of at least eight inches in length, and the bottom of the mark shall be no less than three feet or more than five feet from the base of the tree or post.

Stay safe out there, and stay vigilant so you stay where you're supposed to stay.

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