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Driving around East Texas, especially on more rural roads, you've probably noticed a neighbor or two with a purple 'X' or mark on a fence post or a tree at the edge of their property. It's not lawn decor, or a display of your neighbor's favorite university. It actually represents a law in Texas that dates back to 1997, but still many outdoorsmen across the Lone Star State aren't aware of it.

It's called the Purple Paint Law, and in Texas it means 'no trespassing'. Landowners can mark a tree or fence post along the edge of their property to keep those involved in hunting or hiking away. The law is meant to keep landowners and their families safe, along with any livestock they may have.

This is an extremely important law to abide by. According to the International Hunter Education Association, about 1,000 people are shot and killed in hunting accidents each year.

According to Central Texas Geocachers, to act as a “No Trespassing” sign, purple paint markings in Texas “must be: vertical, at least 8 inches long, at least 1 inch wide. [The] bottom of the mark should be between 3-5 feet above the ground. Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland. Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land, [and] they must be in a place visible by those approaching the property.”

Trespassing on marked property can be a Class B or C misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to a $2,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail.

A number of states utilize the Purple Paint Law in order to signify “no trespassing”, including Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Montana, Missouri, Maine, Idaho, Arizona, and Kansas.