Training and raising falcons of Kazak Ethnic Group

Hunting is a subsidiary industry of the nomadic nationalities, so as the Hazak nationality. In their hunting activities, there is a kind of unique traditional hunting mode, which is to use tamed falcon to hunt. 

The ancient hunters had no guns and other modern hunting tools, so they usually used hunting dogs or tamed falcons to capture animals. The key of falcon hunting is the training and taming of falcon. When the hunters captured the wild falcons, they would throw all their energy to carefully feed and take care of them, make leather block and blinkers for them, and let them fly and trained them every day. Before taming them, they would feed good foods to the falcons, and let them become plump and strong as quickly as possible. But at this time, the fat of the falcon was weak, and it could not become strong until it was transferred into muscle. Firstly, they would drag fat for the falcons, they not only did not feed them, but also washed stomach for them. Then they used hot water to have a bath for the falcon, and let it sweat all over. In the evening, the falcon would be placed on a thick rope that was specially used to tame it, it could not stand steadily, and the hunter would use a stick to beat the rope unceasingly under it, the rope shook unceasingly, thus the falcon could not sleep, this was said as “torturing the falcon”. When the falcon was tired to the utmost, it would fall to the ground. At this time, the hunter used clean water to wash the falcon’s head, and let it drink some tea or salted water. By this method, the falcon would be very thin only in a few days, some falcons would be starved skinny, with no any spirit. At this time, the hunters would begin to tame the falcon. They dressed special blinkers on the head of the falcon, and did not let it see anything, specially fed it some rabbits, pigeons, little birds and other animals’ meat, and let it eliminate the fear and hostility to man. Then, the hunting training would begin. One falcon has sixteen pieces of tail feather. It takes off, brakes, glides, and strains and captures animals by the coordination of these sixteen pieces of tail feather. At the time of training, these sixteen pieces of feather would be bound up one by one. The line between feathers could not be too tight or too loose, the falcon could not fly if it was too tight, and it would flee if it were too loose. On the training ground, some rabbits and pigeons were tied with ropes. When everything got ready, the hunter would take off the blinkers of the falcon, at this time, the falcon would fly to capture the animals, until had enough. In the next step of training, the hunter did not let the falcon eat the animals after it captured them, and did as so repeatedly for many times, and let it eat at last. After a certain time, several pieces of feather would be loosened, and then all of them would be loosened. Half a month later, the falcon would be completely tamed. When testing the result of taming, the hunter placed some meat in the house and induced the falcon to eat. If the falcon came to eat, he succeeded and could use the falcon to hunt. When feeding the falcon, the hunter only gave it lean meat and would not let it have enough, this was because “the satisfied falcon would not capture bags”. When the hunting objectives had not appeared, the falcon’s blinkers and feet block would not be taken off, this was said as “not setting free the falcon until the hunting objectives emerge”. The falcon used its sharp claws to capture wolfs, Mongolian gazelles, foxes, rabbits and other birds species of animals. 

The scenes that the falcon hunted the animals had a strong appeal to people. The hunter carried the falcon over his head with the left hand, whipped the horses with right hand and galloped very fast, the hunting dogs galloped crazily with him, and the hunter kept a close watch on the objective animals. After choosing an appropriate place, he would quickly uncover the falcon’s blinkers, and take off the feet block, blow a whistle, then the hungry and crazy falcon would fly up like a sparrow, and sharply rushed to the astonished animals. No matter the animals were flying on the sky or running on the ground, if only the hunter released the big, agile and ferocious falcon with sharp eyes and great strength, it would capture the animals alive in a short moment. A good falcon can capture several hundred animals every year. No wonder it is said that you can hardly exchange a good falcon with a good horse, so we can see the value of it.