Berkut with Hare

Sitting in the saddle high on a mountain ridge we had a magnificent view of the vast steppe below us. A frozen river meanded through the flat land and was surrounded on both banks by dried grasses, the only vegetation for miles.

Our horses stood in a row side by side waiting patiently as the un-hooded berkut scanned this huge vista. Not a word was spoken and I took the opportunity to slip my feet from the stirrups and let my legs stretch and to flex my locked up ankles.

The berkut was watching Erkenbek, Soltankhan’s son who rode through the dried grasses on the river banks far below. Her muscles clenched and she stood taller on Soltankhan's arm, next second she was airborne.

She flew straight out at our level for at least a half to three quarters of a mile, then started to dive towards the valley floor. I had no idea what she had seen or the fact that Erkenbek had flushed something, it was all too distant for me to see anything but miniature dots.

Once the berkut was committed the Kazakh's moved down the mountain at full speed, the hunt was on. I followed in their wake at a reasonable speed for my experience and soon came upon our berkut with a rolled up hare in her clutch.