iReport: Eagle hunters in Mongolia

iReport: Eagle hunters in Mongolia

iReporter Craig Smith's amazing pictures from the annual Golden Eagle Festival
Golden Eagle Festival
Hunters make quite the entrance.

iReporter Craig Smith was to Mongolia in October to witness the annual Golden Eagle Festival in Oglii County, western Mongolia. He submitted his iReport for "Travel photo of the day" assignment.

He says:

“The festival happens every year during the first week of October. About 70 eagle hunters came from the surrounding areas for the two-day competition.

The eagle hunters are nomads. The golden eagles are raised from birth and trained to hunt for foxes and wolves for their pelts.

The hunters live in Mongolian gers in the mountains, ride horses and raise sheep and cattle.

Golden Eagle FestivalA hunter develops a close relationship and understanding with his bird.

During the festival, the eagles were taken to the top of a mountain. Then, they swooped down to their handler -- some went after pelts which were being dragged by horses and some flew to the arm of their handler.

The eagles were judged on their speed and accuracy.

It isn't a circus or a professional event. These are nomads who live off the land. This is their tradition. They are proud of what they do, their culture and their heritage."

Too see all of Craig's images, head to iReport.