A new law increases the penalties for assaulting a Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer or deputy WCO takes effect Sunday, Dec. 23, and increases the maximum penalty for anyone convicted of assaulting a WCO or deputy WCO to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 40 years in prison.

Under the new law, Act 150 of 2012, the penalty of assaulting a wildlife conservation officer of the PGC will be the same penalty for assaulting any other law enforcement official, elected official, personnel of the court, teacher or psychiatric aid.

"The new law is of vital importance to the Game Commission," PGC executive director Carl Roe said. "It seeks fairness for the law enforcement officers who face dangerous situations in the fulfillment of their responsibilities, as demonstrated by the tragic death of WCO David Grove in 2010.

"This new law takes a giant step in the protection of Game Commission officers and does so in a way that is consistent with other similar law enforcement personnel."

Act 150 was introduced as House Bill 1417 by state Rep. Edward Staback, who is the House Game and Fisheries Committee Democrat chairman. The bill passed the House unanimously, and was approved in the Senate by a vote of 45-4 and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett.

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A series of seminars on flintlock muzzleloader hunting will be presented by National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Longhunter Society chairman and outdoors writer Dave Ehrig, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, at Cabela's Hamburg location that focus on Pennsylvania 's flintlock deer season, which opens, Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Representatives of the NMLRA will also be in attendance both days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to answer questions about muzzleloader hunting and shooting and offer discount memberships. Ehrig's seminars will feature both foundational skills for beginners and new techniques for veteran hunters and will be presented Saturday and Sunday at the following times: 11 a.m., Flintlock Muzzleloader Basics; 1 p.m., Powders, Pellets, Confusion; 2 p.m., The Truth about Flints , Caps and 209 Primers; 3 p.m., Foul Weather Muzzleloader Hunting.

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Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature taxidermist Randy Hill of Hill's Taxidermy, Lehighton.

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First Frontier Militia, a Pennsylvania Federation of Blackpowder Shooters-affiliated organization, will hold its final muzzleloader shoot of the year, Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 248.

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Promoters of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, which will be held Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 2-10, 2013, at the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, have begun to sell advance, discounted tickets online at http://www.easternsportshow.com/ [1].