On the southern shore of the Issyk Kul lake, there is a village of Bokonbaevo. It is the village where you can meet the most of hunters with eagles. I recommend you to meet during the tour the hunter – Arstan. He practices this custom being the 8th in his generation. He will tell you lots of interesting facts about hunting with eagles and make a demonstration of eagle hunting upon request.
It is well known that Kyrgyzstan is a birthplace of eagle hunting along with other countries in Central Asia. They began to tame the birds of prey thousands years ago and continue this tradition till nowadays. This practice was fundamental for getting food and fur during harsh winter times. Nowadays it is not as essential as before but still important to keep this element of nomadic culture. We can provide you a car for rent to drive this village and other place along the way.
Kyrgyz people trained golden eagles considering the hawks and falcons for amateurs. Golden eagles are thought to be the most intelligent, powerful and can kill hares, foxes, lynxes and even wolves! Eagle hunters are called berkutchi and were always highly respected in Kyrgyz society.
The training of eagles may take 3-4 years. Berkutchi must spend a lot of time with the eaglet to create bond between them, he sings and talks to him and feeds the eagle. In order to train the eagle to hunt, the berkutchi uses a fox fur fastened to a rope which he pulled in front of him and the eaglet would catch it. The hunting season starts in October and ends in February. The eagle stays with berkutchi for 20 years and becomes like a family. But after it he lets him go to wilderness. We do recommend visiting his house during your tour in Kyrgyzstan.
Arstan has got many prizes in eagle hunting contests in and outside of Kyrgyzstan. He is a member of Salburun Federation that takes care of revival and development of this ancient type of hunting. If you travel on the southern shore of Issyk Kul, make sure to stop at his house to visit him. You can travel by self-drive car or take a car with a driver. Public transport is not so developed at that region. Plus if you take a car for rent in Kyrgyzstan we will also advice many amazing gorges along the way that you can drive inside to feel the nature of our Motherland!