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 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.
During this epic journey they will cross mountain passes, frozen rivers and lakes of solid ice.
The animals are reluctant to cross the ice, Shohan covers the surface with dirt, they still resist and have to be encouraged to cross.
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.
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 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.