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Mongolian Eagle Hunter

By Henchard  
In October 2008 I travelled to the remote Bayan-Olgii province of Mongolia via Siberia to visit the eagle hunters’ festival at Sagsay where I photographed the Kazakh eagle hunters. There are more photos currently in my exhibition (on epz) which is probably best viewed as a slideshow.

Probably since the time of Genghis Khan the skill of hunting with golden eagles has been passed down from father to son. Mongolian Kazakhs only hunt with the larger female eagles which can be nearly a third heavier than the males. The eagles are collected as chicks from nests on the mountains. Often hunters will secure themselves with ropes and make a hazardous climb down the mountain to take a chick from the nest.

Once the hunter has obtained his eagle he will spend several months rearing it and training it to fly for its reward of food. Eventually the eagles become a highly efficient hunting machine with acute eyesight and powerful talons, used to hunt rabbits, hares and foxes. The eagle hunters lavish great care on their birds and eventually after ten or 15 years will release them back into the wild in the hope that they will pair up and breed. Their owners often tie threads of material into their wings before releasing them so that they can see how ‘their’ eagle is doing once returned to the wild.

Tags: Photo journalism Eagle Landscape and travel Portraits and people Mogolia

Voters: tracer, DaveU, crookymonsta and 39 more

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tracer 12 United Arab Emirates
18 Nov 2008 3:03PM
timeless shot...full of character
DaveU 14 1.4k 125 England
18 Nov 2008 3:05PM
Excellent photo and full of interest, especially the guy's clothing. I find the plain white background a little stark but that's probably just me.
Henchard 15 2.7k 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 3:08PM

Quote: I find the plain white background a little stark but that's probably just me.

No modification of the background has taken place. He was on horseback and this was taken against the bright sky. You just have to go with whatever there is on location in the bleak landscape!
crookymonsta Plus
13 842 10 England
18 Nov 2008 3:13PM
Superb shot and narrative. Sandra
Briwooly 15 454 6 England
18 Nov 2008 3:25PM
What a superb image and a excellent description

LynneJoyce Plus
12 22 101 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 3:51PM
Great description and a great study but too HDR for my tadet.
BERTRAM 12 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 3:52PM
Excellent work,great write up.
Coleslaw 15 13.4k 28 Wales
18 Nov 2008 4:18PM

Quote:In October 2008 I travelled to the remote Bayan-Olgii province of Mongolia via Siberia

you lucky ba*****...
patman 14 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 4:45PM
peg 13 1 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 6:14PM
JBA 12 341 1 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2008 7:50PM
Fantastic shot. Compostion and background, everything. . . Wonderful.
ZenTog 19 7.9k 1 England
18 Nov 2008 8:27PM
aboslute amazing set of images from Mongolia would grace the pages of National geographic with no problems, love the riders
deserves editors choice
have a ZenTog order of Merit
SlowSong Plus
12 9.5k 30 England
19 Nov 2008 10:09AM
Terrific image. Shows both bird and man off to great effect.
User_Removed 15 7 8 Netherlands
24 Nov 2008 7:48PM
This is a great photo, the best in your current exhibition here on epz I think. People, go visit that exhibition through the members' exhibition features, it's well worth a visit. Wonderful light and I was surprised to hear that the background is plain sky. Did you use flash or was this the light?
Nic_WA 16 179 2 Australia
26 Nov 2008 8:26AM
I'm so envious! Thoroughly enjoyed viewing your slideshow in the Exhibition section - what an amazing experience, and a superb set of insightful images to share that experience with others.
jenquest 18 561 1 Tokelau
26 Nov 2008 1:18PM
A wonderful portrait that says a lot.
Juliee 14 382 4 England
25 Mar 2009 7:21PM
Fabulous image and a really interesting description.

User_Removed 16 4 11 England
19 May 2009 9:22PM
This is a real reality check for us in england where we really do have things pretty good. These birds are relied on to provide food for the families out there & become quite a status symbol.Sylv.

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