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Views and opinions: Purple paint really means ‘no trespassing’ – no joke


When I first heard about the new “Purple Paint No Trespass” law, I thought it was a joke; however, it’s no joke. Even in our label-loving, litigious society, an easily read sign has now been replaced by a simple swatch of purple paint on a post or tree.

I couldn’t help in my twisted humor but wonder if the sign manufacturers had been out-lobbied by the paint manufacturers. I even checked the local farm supply store, and they had a bunch of “No Trespassing” signs, and I heard some locations even sell them in Spanish.

We are a nation that demands we be told of imminent danger or of situations of unintentional rule-breaking. Everywhere we look we see: “Don’t Feed the Animals,” “Don’t Walk On the Grass,” “No Loitering” and the like. Today, some of the instructions on washing clothes come with a warning to remove the children first!

I can see where the new legislation may create havoc for woodland wanders and our Indiana conservation officers. The legislation brings up more than a few questions.

First – how is the general public supposed to learn of the new ruling? I know there are a few people who read this column, but come on. Where is the media blitz to edify the masses? Do we need to post signs telling misguided woodland wanderers the purple swatches mean to stay out?

And second, how can an enforcement officer be sure the swatch of paint was simply not seen by the trespassing offender?

I also question the selection of the color purple. In shadows or dim light, purple paint can be difficult to detect. Why wasn’t the law written around using “Blaze Orange” paint or “High Visibility Green?” Should the paint also be luminous so it will glow in the dark to notify nighttime woodland walkers?

How are we to know if the swatches of purple paint were put there by the property owner, and not a case of woodland “tagging” by an underground artist?

The media release read: “Hunters, anglers, trappers and anyone else who enjoys time in the woods will need to be aware of a new law taking effect July 1. Per Indiana Code (IC 35-43-2-2), landowners may mark no-trespassing areas of their property with purple paint instead of no-trespassing signs.

“The purple-paint perimeter serves the same legal purpose as a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. Painting can be done around the perimeter of the area where entry is denied on either trees or posts. The purple marks must be readily visible to any person approaching the property.”

I investigated further and found IC 35-43-2.2 reads, in part:

(4) Posting the property by placing identifying purple marks on trees or posts around the area where entry is denied

(1) Each purple mark must be readily visible to any person approaching the property and must be placed:

(A) On a tree: (i) as a vertical line of at least eight (8) inches in length and with the bottom of the mark at least 3 feet and not more than 5 feet from the ground; and (ii) not more than 100 feet from the nearest other marked tree; or

(B) On a post: (i) with the mark covering at least the top 2 inches of the post, and with the bottom of the mark at least 3 feet and not more than 5 feet, 6 inches from the ground; and (ii) not more than 36 feet from the nearest other marked post; and

(2) Before a purple mark that would be visible from both sides of a fence shared by different property owners or lessees may be applied, all of the owners or lessees of the properties must agree to post the properties with purple marks under subsection (c)(4).

For more information, refer online to IC 35-43-2-2 at

Register to report a turkey brood

It’s time for sportsmen and property owners to turn in their birds … I mean, count their turkeys. The Department of Natural Resources is again calling on observers to help them tally Indiana wild turkeys, to help with determining management by the numbers of birds reported.

If you are new to the reporting system or have lost your email address, create a new username and password. If you have previously reported broods and have forgotten your username and password, you can retrieve them. Reporting can be done online at

Why count turkeys? Brood surveys provide useful estimates about annual production by wild turkey hens and the survival of poults (young turkeys) through the summer brood-rearing period.

Summer brood survival is generally the primary factor influencing wild turkey population trends. Information on summer brood survival is essential for sound turkey management.

A wild turkey brood is composed of at least one adult hen with young (poults). As the summer progresses, multiple broods may gather into what is termed a “gang” brood, with several adult hens and multiple broods of poults of varied ages.

During summer, adult gobblers (male turkeys) play no role in raising a brood and either form small male-only “bachelor” flocks of or are observed as a single gobbler. No gobblers should be reported.

What should you report if you see a turkey brood or some turkey hens without poults? The number of adult hens with the number of poults or number of adult hens without poults, and the county and date of each observation.

Provide as accurate a count of both hens and poults as possible. It is also just as important to record observations of hens without poults. Don’t compile multiple observations as one report but, instead, report each different observation separately, even if observations of different broods are made on the same day in the same county.

By mid- to late August, turkey poults are normally about two-thirds the size of an adult and a juvenile gobbler (jake) can be about the same size as an adult hen. Suspected repeat observations of the same turkeys during the same month should not be recorded.


The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments may contact Jack Spaulding by email at or by writing to him in care of this publication.