Migration of the Eagle Hunter.


Clad in sheep skins, wearing a fox fur hat sat aside his trusted horse, Shohan leads the migration. Driving a mixed herd of goat, sheep, cattle, horses and camel 150km into the Altai mountains. The journey will take Shohan, his brother Ozat and cousin Koke five days.

Shohan tends to a camel and its calf.

Shohan is an Eagle Hunter, a Kazakh from Western Mongolia. He and his family are nomadic, they migrate with their herd up to four times a year.

Dawn on day one.
Through valleys towards the mountains.

During this epic journey they will cross mountain passes, frozen rivers and lakes of solid ice.

The Black lake.

The animals are reluctant to cross the ice, Shohan covers the surface with dirt, they still resist and have to be encouraged to cross.

Crossing the frozen river.
Horses not sure of the ice.

Hunting with eagles is an ancient tradition that dates back over 4,000 years, using a Golden Eagle to hunt foxes and rabbits and sometimes wolves. The eagles are not trained, instead a bond is formed between eagle and handler. After years of hunting the eagle hunter will set the eagle free.

Shoran lets his eagle loose during a hunt.

Traditionally it’s the male members of the family that take up eagle hunting, but the draw of this role was too much for Damil, Shohan’s daughter.

Damil with an eagle.

Damil is 13 and already learning the ways of hunting with an eagle. More and more young girls are taking up the tradition keeping it alive for future generations.

Damil learning to hunt.

26 thoughts on “Migration of the Eagle Hunter.”

  1. Wow! Fabulous photographs. I particularly like the one of Damil with the golden eagle. I completely agree with your mantra about exploring what’s on your doorstep as well as the wider world. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Your photograph is stunning, as noted by your admiring readership above. As a horsewoman (and an oil painter who paints horses), I love the mustangs crowded into one frame. I may try to paint that scene. What a life to be able to photograph such a remote people and experience. Your writing that accompanies the photography is great! (I’m a long-time English instructor, happily retired after reading so much bad writing for 42 years.) I look forward to your posts as they present themselves. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi, it was tricky to organise. I used a local fixer. A flight from Ulaanbator to West Mongolia and then a drive to find the family group. I’ll be going again and taking people with me on a workshop/ expedition in the future.

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