Eagle falconry, Kazakh traditional sport has been maintained from father to son for last 2000 years. Some say thousand years. In the past, on Central Asian steppes Kazakhs used to hunt with their golden eagles both as men’s sport and for income of some sort. Eagle hunt foxes, wild cats ( also called as pallas cats), rabbits and there are even some rumors that say they used to hunt wolves. There are two types of eagles that eagle falconers use to do the hunting. First one is the trained eagles which they catch from their nests when they are chicks, they bring them home and start grow them up and training them like their babies, after two years they become adult and start doing the real hunting. Second one is wild eagles that they catch from the nature by setting up nets and trapping them with some sort of food, usually rabbit meat etc. During Soviet union Mongolia was a satellite Soviet republic and not much of these activities , traditions were allowed during the soviet union later in 1990 became independent after the peaceful revolution. People restarted to practice their religion and traditions again.
Hunting with eagles is practiced only by Kazakhs living in Mongolia especially for last one century. So Kazakhs in Mongolia are considered as the ethnics that best maintained their traditions. Hunting with eagles is more of a sport nowadays than as source of an income like in the past. Eagle falconers are mostly nomads living in mountains with their animals and livestock. So automatically they migrate from one place to another to look for better pastures for their animals. From Spring place to summer, from summer place to autumn place, from autumn place to winter place etc. With the weather getting hotter in summer and wild animals that eagles catch also going up on higher altitudes and snow mountains, eagle become more free from hunting so they stay at home all summer and just keep eating and sleeping. When the nomads ( eagle falconers) migrate from their summer place to autumn place, that when eagles start to get hungry and put on diet again. And then start to get ready to start the real hunting. During All winter months they hunt with their eagles, not necessarily on daily basis but from time to time when they have right time for it.
During these hunting time period eagle falconers feed their eagles with only limited food for dietary purpose so that their bird can be exactly fit to do the hunting for them. If an eagle is too full the day before the hunting they wouldn’t fly because they don’t feel hungry to fly and catch an animal. So it is very precise to know and follow the right feeding procedures and norms.
Not anyone can be an eagle falconer. And there is not book to become and eagle falconer but it is a whole process to learn by actions and life experience.