Kazakh Tradition Hunting
It is one of the unique features of the kazakh mode of life.
The hunter is called "kusbegy" or "berkutchy".
The secrets of the bird-training are passed through the centures from father to son.
Earlier, there were a lot of kusbegy and they are very seldom seen at the present days.
Such people have a gift to train the hunting bird. It may be an eagle or a falcon.
There are some special equipment for the training: a cloth, a cap, a bed and a lash for bird.
The trained falcon may catch a hair, a fox, a partridge and a hazel-grauze.
The Golden Eagle is even strong enough to catch a wolf.
For the first time any hunter needs the lessons of the experienced berkutchy.
Training a proud and aggressive bird to hunt is not easy, and so the secrets of
training dynasties of eagles have been handed down the generations.
The season for hunting with eagles begins when the first snow has settled.
This has been so for centuries: people went hunting with eagles only in winter, when animal
fur was most valuable. As well as fox, the usual trophies are corsacs (steppe foxes) and hares,
while steppe antelopes used to be hunted too.
Hawks are flown at large birds and falcons at small game. Hunting with hawks, falcons and
merlins begins at the end of September when the birds are preparing to migrate and continues
until the first snow.
Hunting with an eagle follows this pattern: the hunter, holding the bird on his fist,
lets his horse go off at a gallop, removes the tomagu (a special leather hood) from the bird's
head as he rides, and throws the eagle upwards in the direction of the prey.
The bird quickly picks up speed and catches the prey in a matter of seconds.
The results are noticeably improved if the bird is assisted by a Borzoi (tazy).
Centuries of breeding in the region have produced Borzois with a remarkable ability to track
animals, particularly sharp vision and maximum speed.
These characteristics are what distinguishes the Central Asian Borzoi.
In earlier times tazy were mostly used for unarmed hunting for hares, snow leopards, marmots,
wolves and hoofed animals.