According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the 871,499 fishing licenses sold through September 13 has eclipsed the total yearly sales for each of the last four years and represents the largest one-year percentage increase since 1980.

"Fishing license sales are up 5 percent and overall stamp sales are up 4.36 percent over the same period from 2008, reinforcing thinking by many that people have returned to fishing as an affordable, family-oriented activity," PFBC executive director Doug Austen said. "The commission is also finishing the second year of a multi-year direct marketing campaign in cooperation with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. We believe these efforts aimed at lapsed anglers have also had a positive impact on licenses sales."

Among license types, resident license sales are up 5.47 percent; non-resident sales are up 3.41 percent; 7-day tourist licenses are up 1.55 percent; and 3-day tourist licenses are up 3.61 percent. Among stamps, trout permits are up 3.79 percent; Lake Erie permits are up 3.18 percent; and Combo permits are up by almost 8 percent. The increase also extends to boating, where registration renewals are up by approximately 5 percent from the same period in 2008.

This year's sales are the highest since 2004, when more than 909,000 licenses were sold. In 2005, the cost of a license increased from $16.25 to $21 and sales for that year subsequently dropped to 823,175.

***********

Two limited archery/muzzleloader hunts for antlerless deer have been scheduled for the controlled access areas of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Kleinfeltersville, Wednesday, Dec. 16, and Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.

Hunting will be by the 100 permits to be issued by random drawing for each hunting day, and hunters are limited to one application.To participate in the drawing, applications must be on a standard postcard, and contain the hunter's name, mailing address, hunting license number and antlerless deer license tag number for Wildlife Management Unit 5B.

Applications will be accepted by mail only until Nov. 16, and must be mailed to: Pennsylvania Game Commission MCWMA; Box 110; Kleinfeltersville, PA 17039.A public drawing will be held at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Visitors Center, Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m.

**********

Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners president Greg Isabella is today's guest on "Experience the Outdoors" with Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on Oldies 1410-AM, from 7:30-8 a.m. There will be a rebroadcast of the program Sunday, from 9:30-10 a.m., on Magic, WMGH, 105.5-FM.

*********

A 3-D woods walk is open daily, through Sunday, Oct. 18, from dawn to dusk, at Bears Head Sportsmen, located off Interstate 81 Exit 134, Delano. For information, call the club at 570-467-0331 or e-mail docblazer@verizon.net.

*********

A muzzleloader shoot will be held today and Sunday, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by the First Frontier Militia at Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 248, Bowmanstown. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.

*********

A "Cable Restraint Class" will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, from 1-5 p.m., at South End Field and Stream, Morea Road, Frackville. For required pre-restration required, call Bill O'Donnell at 570-462-3976 or visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us.

*********

Locust Valley Fish and Game, Barnesville, is holding a coyote hunt from Monday, Nov. 2-Saturday, Dec. 12, with a registration deadline of Sunday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. For information, call the club at 570-467-0311, Mark Petrey at 570-778-2556, or access the Web site at www.lvfg.org.

***********

A "Rattling Run Walk" will be held Monday, Oct. 12, from 1:30-2:30 p.m., meeting at the parking area, Clinton Street, east of Route 61, Port Clinton. For information, call Teddi Cunningham at 570-621-3012 or 1-800-621-6325.

A "Bake Oven Knob and Baer's Rocks Tour" will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, from 2-4 p.m., meeting along Route 309 at the Schuylkill/Lehigh counties line on the Blue Mountain. For information, call Pat McKinney at 570-622-4124, ext. 113.

A primitive rendezvous and muzzleloader shoot will be held Friday-Sunday, Oct. 23-25, at the Henry's of Boulton Plantation, Belfast. For information, call Yvonne White at 609-267-3706.

As part of its popular patch collection offerings, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has commissioned a new patch to promote the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.Accompanying the 4.5x3.5-inch patch is a Saf-T Plug that acts as a visual cue that the action of any pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun is open and safe.The two items sell for $7, including sales tax, and can be obtained at any Game Commission office or through "The Outdoor Shop" on the agency's Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us.

To order online, click on "The Outdoor Shop" icon in the right-hand column of the homepage, then choose "Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop" in the lower left-hand corner of the page, select "Merchandise" in the banner, select "Patches" in the left-hand column and scroll down to "2009 Mentored Youth Patch & PGC Saf-T Plug." Orders also can be made by calling 1-888-888-3459.

Complimentary, one-year memberships are being offered to first-time members by the National Rifle Association. According to an NRA spokesperson in the membership department, this is being done in an effort to familiarize firearms owners and shooters with the organization's services and programs.

To register for a complimentary NRA membership, access the special Web site at

www.nrahq.org/nrabonus/accept-membership.asp.