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Conde Nast Traveler
Boojum / KLM
PO Box 902
Central Post Office
Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia (11 days)
Eagle Hunting, one of the most dramatic and primal relationships between man and beast is alive and well in the remote mountains of western Mongolia. Falconry developed in Central Asia and for centuries, Kazakh men have hunted from horseback with trained golden eagles, the largest and most powerful of raptors. Fox, rabbit and even wolf are hunted for their fur and for the challenge they present, pursued across the snowy mountains and steppes. We offer a ten day long trip to meet the hunters and their birds, follow them on the hunt and learn some of the skills involved in the capture, training and use of the eagles as hunters.
In winter western Mongolia is COLD. Day time temperatures are nearly always below freezing. The accommodations will be very simple living in the hunter's wooden cabin heated by wood stoves and sleeping with sleeping bags on the cabin floor. In winter it is also generally sunny and not windy so the days, if properly dressed, can be quite pleasant. The Kazakhs only hunt with their eagles during winter, when the pelts of the rabbits, red fox and wolf are at their most luxuriant. Hunting with eagles is an ancient sport. It reminds us of how close, until recent history, man was with both nature and animals. This tradition, lost in many parts of the world, is enjoying a resurgence of interest among the Kazakhs and has spread to other ethnic groups who once hunted with raptors but lost the knowledge.
Participants will discuss the techniques of capturing and training an eagle (only the females are used, they are larger) and will be able to see the eagles fly in pursuit of prey. You should be prepared for some horseback riding (Mongol ponies are small but stout) and camel riding in order to follow the hunters. In addition, the far western mountains of Mongolia (Altai) are spectacularly beautiful.
This trip is limited to 6 participants and an interview with our office is a prerequisite.
Day 2: Fly to Olgii in western Mongolia. Drive to hunter's
camp. Overnight in gers.
Please Note: these trip dates are designed to allow
North Americans to go in and out of Ulaan Baatar via Seoul, Korea which
is the easiest and generally cheapest way to travel.
Includes: All inclusive of meals, accommodations, guide services, internal transportation and specialized gear. Not included: International airfare to Ulaan Baatar, airport taxes, gratuities.
Hunting: 2004 Client Trip Report (David Lee Kirkland)