A change, during 2020, in Title 18, of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (2019 Act 103), gives Pennsylvania landowners the option of using purple paint, rather than signs, to post their properties and alert others that lands are private and trespassing isn’t permitted. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has summaries of this recent law on its web site.
This law is effective in all but Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.
Landowners using purple paint to post their properties use vertical purple lines that are at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. The bottom of the mark must be no less than 3 feet or more than 5 feet from the ground. And painted marks are not more than 100 feet apart.
Now that the “purple paint law” is effective, hunters and trappers should know they might encounter purple markings on trees and that these marks are meant to define the boundary of an adjoining private property that’s posted against trespassing.
The new law also authorizes unarmed persons to go onto private property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog.
In Pennsylvania, failure to obey purple painted marks, as well as signs or verbal commands to keep out, is considered defiant trespass – a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. If trespassing occurs while hunting, additional game-law violations – and additional penalties – also might apply.
A recent legislative act has provided the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to investigate trespassing complaints and enforce trespassing violations as a primary offense, even if game law violations aren’t alleged.