LOST IN THE MAIL: About 1,000 Maryland antlerless deer permit applications failed to make it to Annapolis by mail this month, and officials are not ruling out foul play.

Special permits are required for hunters to take female deer in five counties during the weeklong gun season now in progress, but 1,000 applications sent in marked envelopes never got to Forest, Parks and Wildlife headquarters.

Spokesman Mark Hoffman said postal and state authorities are investigating "from a standpoint it could be anything from a mistake to a criminal act." He said no evidence has turned up to support rumors the disappearance was the work of antihunting activists.

Anyone who applied for a permit and got no reply should call (301) 974-3195. BIRD FEATS: The Audubon Naturalist Society's annual holiday fair is next weekend at Woodend, the society's 40-acre wildlife preserve in Chevy Chase. Call (301) 652-9188. DAPPLED WATERS: National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited will present a talk by Potomac smallmouth specialist Bill Anderson at the regular monthly meeting at 7 on Tuesday in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW. The public is welcome, with a $5 donation requested from nonmembers. Call (202) 362-0931. POTATOES: The December issue of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport reports that Americans spend more time watching TV than all other activities except working and sleeping.

The finding, based on a survey of almost 9,000 Americans averaging age 39, also found that the more TV a person watches, the less fit he's apt to be. Author Larry Tucker of Brigham Young University suggests TVs should carry a warning: "May be hazardous to your health." ADVENTURE: Garrett Community College and Frostburg State University in western Maryland are developing an adventure sports curriculum covering sports such as kayaking, canoeing, skiing, sailing, horseback and mountain bike riding, hiking, backpacking and wilderness survival. They will hold a technical meeting to discuss the program Monday and Tuesday at Garrett. Call

(301) 387-6666. LOWER SHORE: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge officials will meet with the public at 7:30 on Tuesday at the Chincoteague Fire House to discuss the master plan for the future of the refuge. Issues will include wildlife management, visitor access and management of recreation including hunting, fishing and crabbing. Call (804) 336-6122. BIRDS OF PREY: The Raptor Society of Greater Washington will hear a talk on peregrine falcon banding in New Jersey, the Rockies and Greenland at its monthly meeting Monday at the National Wildlife Federation Building, 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna.