Hunting: the most misunderstood thing in the phone business
Let's say you have three phone lines, 555-8500, 555-8501 and 555-8793.
If someone tries to call you on 555-8500, while you're
talking on that line, she should get a busy signal, because the call encounters
a "road block" at your local phone company's central office.
However, if your phone company provides "hunting," the
call will "hunt" for another "road" -- your next available line -- and reach you
on 555-8501 or 555-8793.
Some phone companies have other names for this service, such as ISG (Incoming Service Group), Roll-Over, Rotary, and Call Forward on Busy. They can do the same thing, but may have different prices, and might even be free.
Many people think that their own multi-line phones or phone systems can provide hunting from one phone line to another; but it doesn't matter if you paid $50 or $5,000,000 for your phone gear: ONLY the phone company can do it.
If you don't have hunting, a second caller can reach phone company voicemail, but not your own voicemail system.
at top shows Groucho Marx as hunter Jeffrey Spaulding in Animal Crackers, an absolutely hilarious movie (Paramount, 1930).
"One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. Then we tried to remove the tusks, but they were imbedded so firmly that we couldn't budge them. Of course, in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa, but that's entirely irr-elephant to what I was talking about."