Avoid Common Hunting Injuries—Take a Safety Course


Almost one half of hunting related injuries occur during the short gun deer hunting season. A wide variety of injuries occur during hunting activities. While many are minor, serious injury with potential long-term disability or even death may result.

The most common hunting injuries are:

  1. Tree stand injuries
  2. Knife or arrow penetration
  3. Misfire/shooting accidents
  4. Slips and falls
  5. Weapon malfunction including blocked barrels, wrong ammunition, gun wear, bad arrows, unclean guns
  6. Overexertion/hypothermia
  7. Animal related injuries

The good news is that hunting accidents are one of the few categories of fatal accidents that have been in decline over the past two decades. Mandatory Hunter Safety Classes are credited for this trend.

Most states DNR’s offer hunter safety courses during late summer and early fall prior to the start of hunting seasons. Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources offers both instructor led and online courses for adults and a home study course for kids 12 and under. Click here to find the right course for you and your family.

Volunteer instructors schedule the instructor led courses, which usually are completed in a weekend. There are also trapper education courses. Once you complete a course, you can get certified by passing a test. The courses are free and the certification cost is $15. Learn when and where it is legal to hunt the game you want, hunting safety, and the safe handling of firearms.

Even the most experienced hunter can learn something new at one of these courses!

Don’t be a Statistic: Follow These Best Tree Stand Safety Practices


One out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand in his or her hunting career. Tree stands are popular because they are an fun and effective way to hunt, but every year, hunters are seriously injured and killed from tree stand falls. Follow these basic safety tips to stay safe during the hunting season:

  • The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommends a Full Body Safety Harness (FBSH) and a climbing safety strap whenever your feet leave the ground.
  • Take a free tree stand safety course online.It only takes 15 minutes and it meets industry standards recognized by Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA). Tree stand safety has evolved over the years-stay on top of best practices.
  • Do not use a single-strap or waist-type harness.  These were once considered safe, but they can cause strangulation in the event of a fall.
  • Most accidents occur when climbing up or down from a tree stand so always use a climbing strap and never climb with anything in your hands. Instead, use a haul line to raise and lower equipment.
  • Inspect your tree stand and harness for damage prior to each use. If a fall occurs, the harness should be replaced.
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls on your old tree stand or safety equipment.
  • Always carry a cell phone or other means of emergency communication while out on a hunt, and let someone know the location where you will be hunting, and when you plan to return.

A Real Lifesaver: Choosing the Right Life Jacket for You


Two people wearing life jackets in a kayak

According to the Ohio Division of State Parks and Watercraft, of the twelve boating-related fatalities which occurred in the state throughout 2016, eleven victims were found to not be wearing a personal floatation device. While floatation devices can be a nuisance with bulky padding and constricting straps, the fact remains, they can save you from drowning. Life jackets have long been the most viable, safe, and cost-effective floatation device available, and for personal watercraft riders, water-skiers, and children under the age of 10 on small vessels, Ohio law requires that life jackets be worn at all times. But do not despair-modern technology has offered up a breadth of alternatives to the traditional, cumbersome jacket model. Below are the important specs for all the major types, as well a few tips for putting your prospective purchase to the test:

Pick your Type:

Type I: Offshore Life Jacket

Pros: Extremely durable and highly buoyant, Type I jackets are intended for rough or otherwise intractable waters where rescue may be delayed. Also, they are designed to help unconscious wearers to float on their backs.

Cons: Cumbersome, not comfortable to wear for long periods of time

Type II: Near Shore Buoyant Vest

Pros: Sufficient buoyancy to support most boaters’ needs, especially in commonly-trafficked, relatively tame conditions where rescue will be expedient. Many Type II jackets also help unconscious wearers to back float.

Cons: While less cumbersome that Type I, Type II jackets are not meant to endure rough conditions or prolonged floating. Also, some models do not support unconscious wearers.

Type III – Flotation Aid

Pros: Lightweight, flexible and breathable

Cons: Most do not help unconscious floaters; not intended for inclement conditions.

Pick Your Style:

Inherently Buoyant

Pros: Require little to no maintenance, always performance-ready, approved for wearers of all ages

Cons: Less comfortable, occupy more space than alternatives


Pros: Depending on the model, Inflatable jackets are either meant to be filled manually or to inflate automatically upon contact with water. This feature makes them extremely compact and space-efficient.

Cons: Some, particularly self-inflated models, require assembly on the part of the wearer and are thereby more prone to malfunction. For this reason, they are forbidden from use on children and are not recommended for unskilled swimmers.


Pros: This alternative is meant to combine the safety and reliability of inherently buoyant models with the comfort and discretion of the inflatables. Their enhanced sleekness makes them an easy adjustment for reluctant jacket-wearers.

Cons: While they are available in child sizes, frequent maintenance checks are necessary to ensure their effectiveness.

Guarantee Your Fit

Even if a jacket is Coast Guard approved, failure to fit the device properly to one’s body can be just as dangerous as not wearing one at all, particularly in the case of small children wearing oversized jackets. There is an easy test to help determine whether a device is right for you: After inspecting the label to ensure the jacket is appropriate for your weight, properly secure all buckles so the garment fits snugly. Have another person pull lightly at the top of the arm openings as you hold your arms over your head. If the jacket bunches up over your face, obstructing your vision or breathing in any way, find a smaller size.

Staying Safe on the Water: Courses for Novice and Experienced Boaters


two kids wearing life jackets in water

Whether you are a novice boater or someone who has been on the water for years, you can surely learn something new from the Power Squadron’s Safe Boating Courses. The US Power Squadrons offer online and classroom courses and seminars for both novice and experienced boaters on a variety of topics-from basic seamanship and boat handling to boat systems maintenance to piloting and navigation. The two-hour seminars focus on a range of skills, and best of all, you can mix and match the courses to suit your needs. There are also courses for more comprehensive and in-depth, building a natural progression of knowledge. The courses typically run between 6 and 8 weeks.


The Boat Operator Certification (BOC) Program certifies USPS members at various levels of proficiency.Each level requires achievement of prior levels, completion of seminars, and the demonstration of essential skills on the water.The skilled certifications are conducted by qualified certifiers from the USPS. Certifications may save you money on insurance premiums and are a great way to establish your boating credentials if you want to run a charter.

Mansfield’s Power Squadron

Our local power squadron is an active member in District Seven of the United State Power Squadron. The fraternal boating club offers boating classes to the public, conducts free safety vessel checks for boaters, and promotes safe boating in every way possible. The local club is offering America’s Boating Course and advanced courses in the classroom beginning in September 2017.

Boating Safety for Kids

The Spirit of America offers youth education programs for middle school aged kids. Blending the fun of safe boating with educational opportunities, the unique program provides participants experiential learning on the water. There are summer programs right here in Mansfield the week of July 24, 2017 at the Mansfield Sailing Club on Clear Fork Lake for children in grades 6-8. Students will receive hands on instruction in power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and personal watercraft after completing the Ohio Boating Education course. Cost of the program is $50.00.

Local Riders Share Insider Tips to Keep You Safe



Skill Level

Steve Hammer says,”ride educated! If you haven’t taken some sort of riding class or have never taken a class you need to. If all you have ever had was the basic class and you have ridden 20 plus years perhaps it’s time to refresh or expand your skill level.” No matter your skill level, it is imperative to practice, practice, practice!

For new riders, the Ohio Department of Public Safety offers a Basic Rider Skill (BRS) 16-hour course. The cost is only $50 and motorcycles and helmets are provided if you don’t have your own. No experience is needed. They also offer an 8-hour Basic Riding Skills course for returning riders (BRS-RR) for riders who already have basic riding skills and are confident with their motorcycle abilities. Locally, the courses are held at North Central State College and the three-day courses run from March 25 until November 13 on the NC campus. Even if you are an experienced rider, you can learn many helpful tips and safety practices in this class!

Safety Gear

Even if you are an experienced rider with great riding skills, safety gear is still important.

Tanya Rishel-Myers has had her endorsement for nine years. She tells us that some people suggest that since she no longer a novice rider, she doesn’t need to wear a helmet. Tanya’s theory is, “I really like my head and brain intact, so I will wear my helmet.”

No matter how much experience you have, you can’t control other people’s action. Even the most alert and aggressive rider is at risk when riding. Tim Myers says, “protect yourself with a properly fitted helmet and a good riding jacket.” As Rebecca Shellenbarger-Smith tells us, “dress for the slide, not the ride!”

Jerry Beatty says, “we can try to protect ourselves with bright clothing and loud pipes, but we still have to fear people texting, going left of center, or running red lights and stop signs.”

Motorcycle Maintenance

Steve Hammer stresses the importance of maintaining your bike, saying “Do it! Don’t let the machine fail you because of neglect-especially tire performance.”

Jesse Dickerson suggests checking the psi on your tires before every ride.

Take your bike for regular service, especially if it has been parked for the winter. When motorcycles are not used for extended periods, some components like brakes and suspension can be prone to seizing due to lack of use. Carburetors can get clogged or gummed up if proper additives are not put in with the fuel before being stored for the off-season.

Regularly check the battery, oil, tires, brakes, chain and sprocket, and fuel.

Riding Tips

Orest Nydza says, “a lot of riders seem to forget you have a front brake. Use it. In the rain, not so good. But in dry conditions, it helps in some situations.”

Jesse Dickerson suggests using the front brakes to slow down at high speed by applying slight pressure to both brakes. “Never use the front brake to stop immediately though,” he tells us. “Peat gravel will put you down hard and fast!”

Watch, Look and Listen

We’ve all heard the expression “look twice, save a life.”

Mike Pigg says, “please look triple time. It won’t take long and you may save a life instead of ending one.” Let’s change the old adage to “look thrice, save a life!”

Staying Safe Now and for the Future!

Sherry Lyon-Edler has been teaching her grandchildren to look and listen for motorcycles since they were little (just like looking for slug bug). That way by the time they begin driving they will know what to look for and listen for.

Imagine if everyone taught their children to be aware of motorcycles like Sherry does. Make it a game or contest for your kids every time you get in the car!

Never Drink and Ride

Steve Hammer says, “Impaired: come on really?” Even one or two drinks can slow your reaction speed. “If Fido runs out in front of you, you need to be on top of your game.”

Ready to get Started?

We’re here to help you and your family get back on track after an accident. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.