Can you imagine riding on horseback, a golden eagle perched on your arm, and riding toward any prey you see? That’s the reality of some who still practice the ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles in western Mongolia. These birds are revered and respected, and with good reason.
Golden eagles are simply an impeccable predator who has gained respect for it’s hunting ability throughout history. Genghis Khan, a ruthless conqueror most well known for his slaughter of entire populations, was reported to have had 1,000 hunting birds.
Those who keep and train the birds will say that the eagle has always been seen more as family member than as a pet. The Mongolian people like to say of the golden eagle, “the bird is never a slave of its owner, only a partner in hunting.”
Hunting with an eagle is a tradition passed down from generation to generation, usually from father to son…but occasionally to the daughter as well. The techniques of training a golden eagle to hunt are considered to be an art that requires strength and gentleness.
Training an eagle requires much of a persons time and is so consuming in a person’s life, that it is seen as an act of deep dedication.Given how much meat the eagle requires daily, even feeding them daily can be a sacrifice for some. Using eagles for hunting is considered more an expression of heritage than a necessity.
Crafting a relationship with an eagle can take many years, and they’re considered incredibly dangerous to train…but joining forces with nature to bring home a pelt for warmth or meat of a prey is considered quite an achievement worthy of the admiration of an entire community.
Watch the golden eagle hunt with their partners, and the amazing technique that brings down the prey. Nothing truly stands a chance. :
Photo Credit: Man and Golden Eagle Cover by Boaz Rottem via Traveler Guidance
Photo Credit: Golden Eagle vs. Siberian Wolf via Environmental Graffiti
Photo Credit: Eagle Hunters by Amos Nachoum via All Poster Images
Photo Credit: Woman Eagle Hunter Emmie Abadilla via Out of Town Blog