Kyrgyzstan has a unique and authentic nomadic culture that is still very well preserved. It’s in fact one of the reasons why you must absolutely visit Kyrgyzstan, on top of its incredible nature.
One of the many nomadic activities to discover during a trip in Kyrgyzstan is eagle hunting. Kyrgyz have always been very close to eagles, used mostly for hunting. Eagles are trained since their earliest days and become friends with their owners. Traditionally, the eagles are freed after 15 years.
The best trained eagles can even help nomads hunt big animals, like Ibex or wolves. Eagles are excellent and very rapid and precise hunters. The falconer, on its horse, brings its eagle up a hill from which the eagle will seek its prey in the valley then neutralize it by tightening its claws around the prey’s chest.
During an eagle hunting demonstration, the eagle usually hunts after a small prey, generally a rabbit. You can also ask that the eagle hunts an animal skin or that it doesn’t kill the prey if you want a family-friendly show. At the beginning of the event, the falconer will tell you about the history of this tradition and the training methods as well as his relationship with his eagle.
The best place to see an eagle hunting demonstration is the south shore of Issyk Kul Lake, and mostly the village of Bokonbayevo.