Unlocking the Secrets of Eagle Hunting in Mongolia

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Welcome to a journey of discovery into the ancient and fascinating world of eagle hunting in Mongolia! For centuries, the Mongolian people have relied on these majestic birds for their survival and livelihood. With incredible speed, agility, and precision, eagles are trained by skilled hunters to hunt prey such as foxes and rabbits. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of eagle hunting in Mongolia, explore its significance to the culture and traditions of this beautiful country, and gain insight into how it continues to thrive today with modern adaptations. Get ready for an adventure like no other as we soar through the skies alongside these magnificent birds!

The majestic golden eagle.
The majestic golden eagle.

Introduction to Eagle Hunting in Mongolia

Eagle hunting is a traditional practice that has been passed down for generations in Mongolia. Hunting with eagles is not only a way to provide for oneself and one’s family, but it is also seen as a way to connect with nature and the animal kingdom.

Eagle hunting usually takes place in the winter months, when the snow makes it easier to spot prey. Hunters will dress in traditional Mongolian clothing, which includes a fur vest and hat, and they will use a special lure to attract the eagles. Once an eagle is caught, it is trained to hunt with its new owner.

Eagle hunting is an important part of Mongolian culture and tradition. It is a way for people to connect with the land and their ancestors.

History of Eagle Hunting in Mongolia

Hunters create a strong bond with their eagles.
Hunters create a strong bond with their eagles.

Eagle hunting is a traditional practice in Mongolia that dates back centuries. The eagle hunt involves the use of a trained golden eagle to hunt small prey, such as foxes and rabbits.

The history of eagle hunting in Mongolia is closely intertwined with the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongolian people. For centuries, eagle hunters have lived in yurts, which are portable homes made from felt and wood. They move their yurts several times a year to follow the grazing herds of animals upon which they rely for food.

Eagle hunting was once a necessity for the Mongolian people, who used the eagles to supplement their diet and provide fur and meat for clothing. Today, eagle hunting is mostly practiced for sport, though there are still a few families who rely on it for subsistence.

The art of eagle hunting has been passed down through generations of Mongolian families. Hunters train their eagles from a young age, using a special glove called a goshawk perch. The goshawk perch allows the hunter to keep hold of the eagle while it is perched on his arm.

As the eagle gets older, it is trained to hunt larger prey. Once it reaches maturity, it will be used for actual hunts. The hunter will take his eagle out into the field and release it when he spots prey. The eagle will then swoop down and catch the animal in its powerful talons before returning to its perch.

The eagles wear hoods to prevent the them from becoming stressed
The eagles wear hoods to prevent the them from becoming stressed

The Golden Eagle Hunters of Mongolia

The golden eagle hunters of Mongolia are a proud and ancient tradition. For centuries, they have hunted with these magnificent birds, using them to track and kill prey. Today, there are only a handful of eagle hunters left in the world, and most of them live in Mongolia.

Eagle hunting is a dangerous and demanding sport. It takes years of practice and patience to train a golden eagle to hunt with you. But the rewards are great. Golden eagles are powerful predators, and their hunting skills are legendary.

The golden eagle hunters of Mongolia keep alive an ancient tradition that is slowly fading away. They are the last of their kind, and they stand as a reminder of a time when humans lived in harmony with nature.

In this blog, I also delve into another magnificent Mongolian tradition: the “1000 Camel Festival.” Join me as we uncover the rich heritage and captivating tales behind this remarkable cultural celebration.

Eagle hunters on horseback
Eagle hunters on horseback

The Eagle Hunting Festival

Every October, in the Altai mountains of western Mongolia, Kazakh eagle hunters gather for the annual Eagle Festival. The festival is a celebration of the ancient tradition of eagle hunting, which has been passed down through the generations for centuries.

During the festival, eagle hunters showcase their skills in a series of competitions, including races and target shooting. The event also features traditional music and dance, as well as a variety of food and drink.

Visitors to the festival will be able to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Altai mountains, and can watch as hunters take off on horseback with their trained eagles in pursuit. The bond between hunter and eagle is a remarkable one, and it’s truly a sight to behold.

The Eagle Festival is a unique opportunity to experience the heritage and culture of the Kazakh people. It is an event that is not to be missed!

For an added adventure, embark on the magnificent Trans-Mongolian train to reach Mongolia. Discover all the wonders of this iconic journey in my detailed blog post. Let your journey begin long before you arrive!

Training the Golden Eagles

Eagle hunting is a centuries-old tradition in Mongolia, passed down from generation to generation. Hunters train their eagles from a young age, using a variety of methods to teach the birds how to hunt and kill prey. The most important thing for an eagle hunter is to establish a bond of trust with their bird – this takes patience, time, and dedication.

Eaglets are taken from the wild when they are around two years old. They are then brought back to the hunter’s camp, where they are kept in a special enclosure called an ‘aigash’. The hunter will spend time with the bird every day, getting it used to human contact and teaching it basic commands. Once the eagle is comfortable with its new surroundings, the real training can begin.

The hunter will start by teaching the eagle simple tricks, like flying to a perch or fetching an object. As the bird gets more confident, it will be taught how to hunt live prey. This is done by first tying up small animals like rabbits or foxes near the eagle’s perch, so that it can watch them being killed. The next step is for the hunter to release the prey and let the eagle chase it down – this teaches the bird how to use its natural hunting instincts. The eagle will be let loose into the wild to hunt on its own; at this point, it should be able to successfully catch and kill small animals for food.

Conservation and Preservation of the Tradition

The ancient tradition of eagle hunting in Mongolia has been passed down through the generations for centuries. The eagle hunters, or burkitshi, are a nomadic people who have long been dependent on eagles for their livelihood. Hunting with eagles is a dangerous and difficult profession, but one that the burkitshi take great pride in.

In recent years, the number of eagle hunters has declined as younger generations move away from the traditional lifestyle. However, there are still a few hundred eagle hunters left in Mongolia, and they are working to keep the tradition alive. Conservation and preservation efforts are underway to ensure that this unique way of life does not disappear.

Eagle hunting is an important part of Mongolian culture and heritage. The hunts are traditionally conducted during the winter months, when eagles are most active. Hunters use a special lure to attract the eagles, which they then capture and train. Once trained, the eagles are used to hunt foxes, hares, and other small prey.

The tradition of eagle hunting is under threat from a number of factors. habitat loss and fragmentation due to development are making it difficult for eagles to find enough food. In addition, poachers often target adult eagles for their feathers, which are highly valued in traditional Mongolian culture. As a result of these threats, the number of wild eagles in Mongolia has declined sharply in recent years.

In another captivating blog post:Journey into the Heart of Mongolia’s Nomadic Culture” I share my immersive experience living among the nomads in the breathtaking Gobi Desert. 

A hunter poses with his companion and hunting partner.
A hunter poses with his companion and hunting partner.


Eagle hunting in Mongolia is a unique and ancient tradition that has been passed down for generations. From the majestic birds to the nomadic lifestyles of the Kazakh people, exploring this rich culture is an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re an avid hiker, photographer or simply wish to observe their way of life, there are many opportunities to explore eagle hunting in Mongolia if you know where to look. So why not take advantage of these incredible cultural experiences now while they still exist?

I would like invite you to explore my captivating photo project that showcases the fascinating lives of Mongolian nomads in the enchanting landscapes of the Gobi Desert.

Do you want help creating your very own trip to see the eagle hunter and the wonders that Mongolia holds? Contact me here for expert advice and trip planning.

Some pictures sourced from pixabay, freepik and pexels.

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