Video: Golden Eagle Eats Pronghorn Alive

While eagles commonly symbolize grace, freedom, and other lofty ideals, they might be an even better analogue for the sheer brutality of nature. From knocking chamois off cliffs in the Himalaya to catching monkeys mid-leap to ripping the bellies out of spawning salmon, these largest birds of prey exemplify predation in all its bloodstained glory.

That savagery is perhaps never more evident than in this video of a golden eagle eating a still living, standing, agonized pronghorn antelope in the American West. Eagle talons can exert 440 pounds per square inch of pressure, 15 times more than a human hand, and lock in an unshakeable death grip—as this eagle clearly demonstrates. And this raptor’s dietary choices might seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that biologists have documented golden eagles killing and eating more than 400 species of vertebrate animals across their Holarctic native range that includes most of the Northern Hemisphere—North America, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

The fifth largest of the eagles, goldens have tipped scales to 17 pounds and are well known for entering the ring with combatants well above their weight class: Pigs, sheep, and goats (domestic, feral, and wild); whitetail, mule deer, red deer, and caribou; countless bird, fish, and mammal species; housecats; huge snakes, tortoises, and even sea turtles are all on the table. Basically, there isn’t much these badass birds won’t try to kill. And when you decide to fight to the death with a creature five times your size, it isn’t going to be pretty and it probably won’t be quick.

Shop
Phantom Saddle Kit
Tethrd

If you are looking for a nimble and effective way to hunt deer this fall, the Phantom Saddle Kit is the ticket!

24 Woodwind Pellet Grill
Camp Chef

Make smoking food effortless with the best pellet smoker on the market!

Benchmade Bugout Knife
Benchmade

Featuring an engraved MeatEater logo, ranger green handle, and a smoked gray chromium nitride-coated blade, you'll find this in our pocket damn near every day.

Blaze Panel
FHF Gear

Added visibility and extra storage makes the Blaze Panel from FHF the perfect addition for rifle season.

Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletters to receive regular emails with hand-picked content, gear recommendations, and special deals.
Our picks for the week's best content
For the whitetail obsessed, with Mark Kenyon
Redefining our connection to food, with Danielle Prewett
With Joe Cermele and Crew
Technical apparel for the avid hunter
Purpose-built accessories for hunting and fishing
Quality elk, turkey, waterfowl, and deer calls