2019 Golden Eagle Festival will begin on
Saturday, October 5 and end on Sunday, October 6
Eagle hunting is a traditional form of falconry throughout the Eurasian steppe. It is practiced in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as diasporas in Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia and Xinjiang, China. Though these Turkic people are most famous for hunting with golden eagles, they have been known to train northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, saker falcons, and more.
Today, several forms of this art still exist internationally in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, in Xinjiang, and locally in the province of Bayan Olgii, where many Kazakhs live. Although Turks are renowned for hunting with eagles, they also train wood pigeons, peregrine falcons and saker falcons.
The Kazakhs who live in the province of Bayan Olgii keep up the ancestral art of eagle hunting. Nowadays, we can count 250 falconers (or "berkutchis") in the whole province. Here, their form of hunting practiced is globally unique--done exclusively on horseback, with the help of a golden eagle. Eagles' prey is mainly foxes, but they sometimes also catch hares or, more rarely, small wolves. Several eagles can hunt one single prey, so that they can catch bigger animals, such as ibex or wolves. The hunter's moon stretches from the beginning of October to the end of March, because it's easier to see the foxes' coat on the snow.
During your stay with a falconer, you will follow him horse riding in the neighbouring mountains. We almost exclusively walk our horses, so beginners can also take part in the game hunting. Once in the mountains, the falconer removes the mask from the eagle, and the eagle scans the horizon. Its panoramic view is eight times as intense as ours. If the eagle sees a prey, it starts to shout to be released by its master.
Then, it swoops down on the prey and tries to catch it. If it manages to, the falconer quickly dismounts to join the eagle as fast as possible. He must prevent the eagle from damaging the skin of the prey, or the captured prey from injuring the eagle in its turn.
Transportation to and from the airport
Time with Local Eagle Hunter
Transportation and Driver
Nightly Accommodations (as specified in itinerary)
International or Domestic Airfare
During the communist period in "Kazakhstan, many Kazakhs (Altaic Kazakhs or Altai-Kazakhs) fled to Mongolia. They settled down in the Bayan-Ölgii province. During the winter, they use eagles to hunt foxes and hare because it is easier to see the bright colors against the white snow. Eagle hunting is just one of many Kazakh traditions that has been preserved in Mongolia. Although the Kazakh government has made efforts to lure the practitioners of these Kazakh traditions back to Kazakhstan, many Kazakhs have remained in Mongolia.
There are an estimated 250 #eagle hunters in the Western Mongolian province. Their hunting practices are known as "horse-riding eagle falconry", which is uniquely only done with Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea) on horseback. Their hunting targets are limited to Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac). In the first week of October, 70 eagle hunters gather for the annual Golden Eagle Festival of Mongolia.