The Idaho snow was deep and begrudging as my partner and I attempted to sneak in to our hide. We literally leaned upon one another as we waded through thigh-high drifted powder along the edge of a vast feedlot for Angus and Herefords. Coyote sign was abound and our skill had reassured us that the painstaking trudge to our stand wouldn’t be in vain. Exhausted, we plopped ourselves down overlooking the heard to catch our breath before the screaming was to commence. My partner gave me a thumbs-up, signaling me he’s ready. I started out quiet and faint with an old Dan Thompson cottontail rendering known as the PC-2. I had the attention of the cattle and hoped it wouldn’t be long until a coyote followed suit. I rotated at the waist, broadcasting my sound around in an attempt to cast the widest net. It worked. I settled eyes on a coyote skirting the edge of the feedlot working his way upwind. Maybe he couldn’t hear me? I called louder. He stopped and his ears perked up. I called again. The coyote turned about-face and headed down wind at a lope. I lip squeaked at my partner to get his attention. As we watched the loping coyote still 1,000 yards out, our attention was distracted as another coyote came into view at the sprint just 100 yards in front of us. My partner whispered, “right here, right here!” I looked at him as he shouldered his Remington 11-87 Predator. By now the charger was 60 yards and closing. I whistled and woofed and he began to slow as a third coyote entered the feedlot with a fourth hot on his tail. I shouldered my AR and prepared for battle. Fire flashed from the 11-87 and the hard charger rolled and slid, resting at my partners pack boots. Seconds later, I took out another trotting coyote. My partner went right to kiyi’s on the FOXPRO Skyote and the third coyote stopped. I anchored him with another round. By now the gig was up and the fourth remaining coyote, which was the first one we had seen, bolted for home.
Calling with a trusted partner can offer so many opportunities that wouldn’t be possible without one. A good partner can add camaraderie and excitement to the hunt, but a great partner can add so much more—teamwork. Here’s a list of why teamwork makes sense for predators.
Multiple Targets: It’s not uncommon to call in a wad of coyotes all at once like my experience above. Two shooters are better than one in this situation. Have a game plan with your partner and don’t be a dog hog.
Shotgun And Rifle: Carrying both aforementioned guns on every stand can be cumbersome, especially in snow up to your delicates. Designate your partner as the shot-gunner while you play back up with the center-fire or vice versa. You’ll never be under gunned again.
See Everything: Good binoculars are an essential tool for predators in my opinion as long as you remember to look near as well as far. With a partner, you can take turns glassing for one another. Someone is always watching the immediate area while the other is glassing the outskirts. When your partner picks his bino up, put yours down and take over for him.
Hear, Hear: When you’re blowing on a distress call or howler, its difficult to hear anything else. Your partner may hear things that you can’t, which helps you to know when to stop and listen. He can give you a high sign letting you know to pause for a bit and get the added advantage of knowing which direction to focus your attention.
Pinch Hitter: We’ve all had one of those days when we aren’t batting a thousand. Whether it is firearm malfunctions or human error, it’s nice to have a partner there to step up to the plate and connect on the predators that you work so hard to call in.
Tough to call: No two hand-callers sound alike. There may be a time when for whatever reason, the critters simply aren’t interested in your best renderings. Changing the sound up a bit by letting your partner call instead or simultaneously with you can fool even those coyotes with Ivy League diplomas.
Next time you venture out for some calling action, take a partner along. Together, you can share the cost of fuel, share a stand and have someone to share your windshield time with. Most importantly, you’ll have someone to share your knowledge about calling predators.