In the west of Mongolia, Kazakh hunters have trained golden eagles for centuries to attack prey such as foxes. Their training involves a period of sleeplessness lasting for weeks that eventually forms an intimate bond between bird and man.
Mongolia – Fact Check

Let’s grab an eagle and go hunting

Photo by Timothy Allen

Mongolia – Fact Check Let’s grab an eagle and go hunting

Eagle hunting is an ancient Central Asian tradition which has been passed down for generations.

Gavin Haines
Gavin Haines Travel Writer

The snowy Altai Mountains are in the far west of Mongolia and home to approximately 90,000 Kazakh nomads, many of whom eke out extraordinary lives as eagle hunters. These nomads move from the plains to the peaks with the seasons, following the migratory patterns of their prey on horseback. It is a pursuit which takes them high up into the mountains, where they navigate perilous peaks that will send them plummeting to certain death should their steeds put a hoof wrong.

Traversing this treacherous terrain is made even more challenging for the hunters by the sub-zero temperatures and the fact they carry golden eagles on their arms, which can grow up to a three-feet tall and weigh up to 15lbs.

Eagle hunting requires practice and patience; many hours are spent tracking paw prints and animal droppings in the snow, before letting the eagles off the leash. Foxes are the preferred prey – providing much needed fur, as well as meat – although the eagles also hunt young deer and goats.

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mongolia-eagles-timothy-allen-219-copy

"I asked the horseman to go to this spot when we were hunting with golden eagles in the Altai Mountains, Mongolia. Some people call that a set-up; I see it as a portrait. All portraiture is set up. Why would you not want to set up this picture if you could? It tells the story. I am a story teller in the sense that Hollywood is a story teller." Photo by Timothy Allen

Timothy Allen

Timothy Allen

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Aperture
ƒ/3.5
Exposure
1/5000
ISO
320
Focal
200 mm

"I asked the horseman to go to this spot when we were hunting with golden eagles in the Altai Mountains, Mongolia. Some people call that a set-up; I see it as a portrait. All portraiture is set up. Why would you not want to set up this picture if you could? It tells the story. I am a story teller in the sense that Hollywood is a story teller."

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