January 9, 2014

Bob Hood, longtime outdoors writer, dies

He wrote about fishing and hunting for more than 40 years.

Bob Hood, a widely read outdoors writer for the Star-Telegram and numerous other Texas publications, died Thursday morning at his home at Possum Kingdom Lake.

He had fought cancer for more than two years. He was 69.

Mr. Hood was born June 28, 1944, in Fort Worth, to James O. and Ina Louise Hood. He was a fixture at the Star-Telegram well before he joined the staff full time on Sept. 21, 1962.

He was delivering newspapers at 11, beginning with a downtown route of 50 customers. But as the months passed, he began to be known as the kid who could be depended upon and soon had himself a small business of more than 500 papers.

The average tenure for youngsters with paper routes was typically less than two years, but Mr. Hood only surrendered his route when he went to work in the sports department upon graduation from Arlington Heights High School.

Mr. Hood started covering high schools, rodeos, boxing and other events before moving to the outdoors beat in 1968.

He retired in 2008 but continued to write monthly stories for the Star-Telegram until his death. He was also hunting editor for Texas Fish & Game Magazine and a contributing writer for Texas Sportsman, Texas Sporting Journal and Lone Star Outdoor News.

Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway recalled meeting Mr. Hood in a press box in the 1960s when Galloway was a reporter with the Dallas Morning News.

“The first thing I noticed about Bob was the smile,” he said. “Going on 50 years later, it’s the same smile. A real smile! A pleasing smile. A man’s smile. Good people have that kind of smile.

“Early on, over some beers along the way, it didn’t take long to figure out Bob Hood is the best kind of people.

“Neither Bob nor I hung out much at the Star-Telegram, preferring to work from home, but once in a while I would run into Bob at the office. Same great smile. Same great attitude.”

The winner of numerous writing awards from the Texas Outdoors Writers Association, Mr. Hood received the group’s L.A. Wilke Lifetime Achievement award in 2011. He was also a past president of the association and served on its board of directors.

He was inducted into the Texas State Bass Tournament Hall of Fame in 2000, having won the event on three occasions. He was also a member of the Lake Falcon Association Hall of Fame.

He was the Fort Worth Ducks Unlimited Sportsman of the Decade for the 1990s and its Sportsman of the Year in 2000.

In 2013, he was inducted in to the Muy Grande Hall of Fame for his support of the annual Freer-Zapata-Laredo-Carrizo Springs deer contest.

Mr. Hood’s articles took readers on excursions across the state, from bass fishing trips along the Mexico border to Canada geese hunts in West Texas. He loved sharing recipes and those hidden hot spots where anglers were sure to reach their limits if they followed Mr. Hood’s detailed advice.

In 2002, Mr. Hood spent 32 days on a 232-mile canoe trip down the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. His series documented the river’s history, wilderness and the people who live along its watershed.

John Thompson, who worked with Hood for more than 44 years at the Star-Telegram, recalled Mr. Hood’s passion for varmint hunting with headlights. He was the first to conclude that varmints can’t see a red light, Thompson said.

After Mr. Hood’s discovery, hunters quickly replaced their clear white lights with red-tinted lenses.

Thompson recalled a hunt in the Del Rio area when hounds pushed a wounded javelina into a rocky hole. Mr. Hood did not want the animal to be wasted and die underground, so he crawled in and shot it.

“He came out with ringing ears, the javelina and has been a little nuts for small pigs ever since,” Thompson said.

Longtime friend Daryl Coffey has many fond memories, from catching redfish to deer hunting. An outing with Mr. Hood was always an adventure, he said.

“We could lower the window passing though a small town and he could find the origin of frying chicken,” Coffey, a Tarrant County judge, said with a chuckle.

In 2007, Mr. Hood wrote in a Father’s Day tribute about the lessons he learned from his dad.

“My dad taught me how to catch perch on a cane pole when I was barely old enough to hold one in my hands.

“It was my dad’s patience, though, that I remember most. He wanted to absorb life, not rush through it and he encouraged me to do the same.”

Mr. Hood is survived by his wife, Kim; daughters, Shelly Archer of College Station, Heather Dobbs of Dallas; a son, Jimmy Hood of Dallas; grandchildren, Melinda, Jessica, Thomas, Matthew, Bobby and Jennifer; and two brothers, Bill of Aledo and Paul of Edmond, Okla.

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