There are certain things you don't do in Missouri. Don't pet a snake with a diamond-shaped head. Don't drink water out of the Mississippi or Missouri River. Oh, and if you see purple paint on a tree, you need to get out of there fast because it's the law.

I actually learned something I did not know about Missouri's purple paint law. If you're somehow not familiar, here are the basics of what you need to know. This is an actual Missouri state statute (RSMO 569.145) that was passed by the Missouri House years ago and it serves more than one purpose.

Purple paint on a tree or post in Missouri means no trespassing and no exceptions. 

There are some specific guidelines, too. The purple paint marking needs to be at least 8 inches long vertical and be no more than 3 to 5 feet high.

I was familiar with the no trespassing part of Missouri's purple paint law, but I did not know that it also was designed to save farmers/ranchers/property owners a fortune on lumber. The University of Missouri extension service says that a posted sign with a nail will eventually ruin part of the tree. In addition, it's a known fact that potential trespassers tend to shoot down signs while you can't shoot purple paint off of a tree (that I know of).  This makes it unnecessary for property owners to have to repost signs after they fall off or get taken down.

It's a good refresher to remind everyone this time of year as the weather warms up and more people head out into the woods to adventure to pay attention to the paint you'll occasionally see on trees. Knowing when to turn around and get out of there could save you a hefty fine if you trespass where you shouldn't be.

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