‘Bubba’ Wood 1940–2024

Most of the people we meet slide in and out of our lives without leaving a trace. But “Bubba” Wood wasn’t most people. If you met him once, you never forgot him.

Bubba, who died January 5 at the age of 83, defined the term “larger than life.” His given name was Martin, but no one ever called him that. He was Bubba, period, and in the overlapping worlds of wingshooting, sporting art, wildlife conservation and Texas high society, that was all the identification he needed. Kind of like Elvis.

He was a member of the Skeet Hall of Fame, too, as well as a member of multiple All-American Skeet Teams, but you’d never hear it from him. He’d never speak of the record-setting five-man squad he assembled, the Cosmic Cowboys, either, or of the fact that they went undefeated for two years.

Bubba’s footprint was huge, but he liked to keep his profile low. Professionally, he was best known as the proprietor of Collectors Covey, the Dallas gallery that was a major player in the wildlife art “boom” of the 1980s and ’90s. What you have to understand is that once Bubba set his mind to something, mastery was the only acceptable outcome. This held true whether he was selling art, carving decorative decoys, tying flies, braiding lanyards, bird hunting, fly-fishing or playing golf.

In recent years Bubba was prominently associated with the Park Cities Quail Coalition, which honored him in 2021 with its T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award. While Bubba was instrumental in establishing the Texas Duck Stamp, generating millions of dollars for conservation in the Lone Star State, people “in the know” will tell you that what he accomplished behind the scenes, out of sight of the public, is what ultimately made him one of the most important figures in Texas conservation history.

Bubba had the ear of billionaires, but if he could have chosen how to spend his last day on Earth, it would have been hunting quail in West Texas. His dogs—the pointers, Rocky and Hannah, and the yellow Lab, Copper—would be getting it done. And Ray Hale, the Black man who was closer to Bubba than a brother would have been, would be waiting at the truck with a bemused smile, ready to put the dogs on the tie-out chain and give whatever preposterous B.S. Bubba dished out right back to him.

That was Bubba Wood’s idea of heaven.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Tex Bocelli

    RIP BUBBA WOODS!

    I first learned of Bubba when I was researching the Mesa Vista Ranch as a possible land acquisition target for my not for profit humanitarian organization, Warriors United, this is how I learned about his art gallery, Covey Collection in Dallas and his dedicated work with wildlife conservation. As an avid Quail hunting fanatic myself since age 10, I resonate with every aspect of the legacy Bubba leaves behind for all of us that love our bird hunting adventures afield with our loyal dog companions and hunting buddies.

    I only wish I could have met he and T. Boone Pickens both and hunted with them for a day on the Mesa Vista. I had many thoughts about such a day enjoying them both and hopefully garnering some of their earned wisdom.

    Thank you for passing this news along on Bubba Woods, I will remember him always as a passionate man pursuing self mastery in many aspects of his life with self control, wisdom and steadfast discipline. His accomplishments and the blessings he leaves behind are a testament to what he loved doing most in his life for our wildlife and us as outdoorsman and Quail Hunting enthusiast.

    Gratefully,
    Tex Bocelli

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