Calling all talented falconers! one the region’s biggest falconry event is finally here.
One of the region’s biggest hunting and falconry events has taken off at Sabikhat Marmi – Mesaieed (Sealine), shedding light onto culture, sports and heritage.
The month-long event includes falcon competitions for adult and younger falcons, and features beautiful birds from all around the world.
The unique event attracts dozens of contestants across the Gulf region annually to take part in ‘unusual’ speed and prey hunting competitions to bag a big cash prize, as well as the prestigious title.
This year, the Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival has five different Visual Acuity, including Adult Saker; Pigeon Chasing: Juvenile Peregrine; Al Da’u; Promising Falconer and Young Falconer; Saluki Racing, Hadad Al Tahaddi, and Al Mazzain.
Al Dau competition is dedicated to young falconers ages 11-15 years old to demonstrate their skills in Da’u (the art of luring) through measuring their speed over a 400-metre course from beginning to end. All participating falcons must not exceed the size of 15 inches and can be of any falcon species except gyrkins.
Young participants are also asked a series of questions about the sport.
Saluki Racing only allows purebred Arabian Saluki dogs to participate (non-crossbred). For two kilometres, the Salukis race and pursue the deer gazelle in an effort to win.
Meanwhile, Hadad Al Tahaddi targets juvenile peregrine falcons.
One Zajil pigeon (Homer pigeon) is released to fly away as the competition’s first target; if the falcon can catch up with it or surround it in one spot, it is declared the winner.
The winning falcon could earn its owner as much as QR100,000 in prize money.
The final day of the festival, January 28, will feature Al Mazzain — an international competition for the most beautiful falcons — at Katara Hall.
Falcons are deeply revered in Qatari society, with the sport of falconry being a well-respected tradition in the Gulf. In 2008, the nation launched a cultural association for hunters, Al Gannas, that aims to promote traditional Arabian hunting.
The association represents Arab hunters in regional and global contests, and organises its own events to encourage and keep the sport alive. It also posses the best facilities and equipment required for hunting and encourages research and studies in the field.