This is the time of year when coyotes get paired up. It's breeding season. For callers, this means 'yotes are more likely to show up at your stand in twos. You'd better have a strategy in place to deal with pairs, because I'll guarantee they have a strategy to deal with you. It's not easy turning the tables on a hunting pair, but it can be done.
Some of the wildest calling responses occur when two lone coyotes see each other approaching and race to see who can get the rabbit first. That's competition, and it's not what coyotes hunting in pairs do. Those coyotes don't compete, they cooperate.
The usual response is for the pair to come in together until they can visually identify the distressed rabbit's location. Using some form of coyote communication, one of them then volunteers (I think) to loop around to the other side of the rabbit so they can seize their prey in a classic pincer movement. The one making the loop invariably travels to the downwind side in order to catch the scent stream as well. Of course, once that happens, the jig is up and they're both gone for good.
A friend and I almost pulled off a tag-team double the other day when a hunting pair showed up in response to my calls. We were set up on either side of a long narrow wind-break row of trees and the first coyote showed up within minutes on my side—only it was a loner and a long ways off. He was getting within range when a pair showed up, again on my side of the trees, but much closer than the first one. I could've shot either one of the latter two immediately, but I recognized them as a hunting pair and waited for them to decide which one would make the loop. When that issue was settled, one trotted off out of sight, for my friend's side of the trees, while the other sat down to wait.
I put crosshairs on the waiting coyote and waited myself for what I hoped was enough time to let the circling coyote get into my buddy's kill-zone. When I assumed it was in position, I sent mine to coyote heaven and listened for another shot as I worked the bolt to try for that loner. By the time I laid crosshairs on the loner there was still no shot ... so I dropped that one, too. Shortly after, my friend fired and I figured we had a triple.
Not quite. When we compared stories, we found that the circling coyote had been slow to reappear on the other side of the trees. It was hung up in there and didn't appear until my first shot kicked it out at a slow trot. The second shot lit up its afterburners and the only try my friend had was at a streaking coyote. My impatience cost us a triple.
At this time of year, if you're hunting with a friend, timing and 360-degree coverage are everything. If you're calling alone and a coyote shows up in front of you, it's a good bet there's one behind you, too.
Play your cards right and you could dump a coyote double.