The Castle Mountain Story

A British inspired driven shooting experience with a hint of American tradition, in the Old South.

Here’s our story.

Our Story

Castle Mountain Wingshooting brings the British tradition of driven pheasant shooting and conservation to America.  We’re located in Rappahannock County, Virginia in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, amidst rolling farmland and deep valleys.  Our goal is to offer the thrill of the British style driven shooting and conservation experience.  We invite all that enjoy time spent outdoors with good friends, good guns and good food to join us for an incredible day and some of the most authentic driven shooting in America.

Castle Mountain Wingshooting is owned and operated by Rusty Carrier, a former jockey who got hooked on shooting sports after riding a winning racehorse in Ireland over thirty years ago, when he was invited to his first shoot.  That in itself is a great story that is best told in person.  Rusty has since traveled to different shooting operations all over the world yet returns frequently to several favorites in England.  Through his travels, Rusty had a vision of bringing the British style shooting experience to America.  This dream is brought to life at Castle Mountain Farm in the beautiful rural Virginia countryside.  Rather than being merely a location to shoot, Rusty has embraced a complete conservation approach in operating his company Castle Mountain Wingshooting operation on Castle Mountain Farm.  The conservation is inspired by some of the best European Shooting Estates including Warter Priory, Castle Hill, Gunnerside, Wemmergill and Bolton Abbey. 

The all-encompassing conservation approach includes a crop rotation designed as the ideal year-round habitat for pheasants raised by Richard Smith.  Shooting locations at Castle Mountain are thoughtfully selected for the ever changing weather and if the weather is making the birds fly poorly for whatever reason, you may even move mid drive.  High shots are designed to thrill and challenge shooters of all levels.  Low flying “unmissable shots” are prohibited in the name of safety and the European sporting tradition. 

With the help of three generations of farm management, Castle Mountain Wingshooting has become an alluring destination for American wing-shooters, aspiring sportsman and the British gentleman alike.  Whether you wear tweed, khaki or camo is less important than enjoying the pure sporting excitement to be found at Castle Mountain.  We hope you will join us for a day of the most authentic British style driven shooting to be found in America.

Our Birds

Our pheasants are the backbone of our shoots, with superior flight and adaptability characteristics.  We’ve partnered with World Class Game Keeper, Richard Smith, owner of Royal United Game Birds, to raise our birds using an old English style grass raising technique for superior acclimation and survival.
 
At eight weeks of age the birds are transferred into a series of fight pens which span over trees and planted cover. The key for survival in pheasants is their natural ability to roost in the trees at night to avoid ground predators. Richard constructs pens that encourage roosting, which in turn builds great strength in their wings. The birds have minimal contact with humans to keep their environment as natural as possible.

 

Rusty Carrier, Founder

Castle Mountain Wingshooting is the culmination of a life’s pursuit of incredible shooting with good friends, beautiful guns, great dogs and outstanding food.  Rusty has traveled all over the world on shooting expeditions and taken the best elements from his favorite shoots to share with his guests at Castle Mountain Farm. 

Inspired by the British sporting lifestyle and conservation minded approach, Castle Mountain Wingshooting is an experience like no other in America.  Rusty is quick to point out that although the shooting is British inspired, it is really a combination of British and American styles, a place where what you wear is less important than enjoying the overall experience.

 

 

Skip Suthin, Farm Manager

Skip is our third generation farm manager, born and raised on the very land that we shoot.  Up before dawn and working well into most nights, Skip works hard to ensure Castle Mountain offers the best shooting experience possible.  Managing our crops, maintaining grounds & equipment, even building our 20 passenger shoot wagon, Skip thrives on the demanding workload with the help of his two sons, Harvey and Garret, along with his dog Annie.

 

 

Richard Smith, Game Provider, Coach, Shooting Instructor

Rich Smith, owner and founder of The Royal United Company is a British gamekeeper whose roots run in the industry run deep. His grandad and father, Adrian Smith, both ran a pheasant shoot. His father’s shoot, Norton Hill, in Gloucestershire, is also where his brother Bradley was gamekeeper. His oldest brother Marcus had his own custom farming business. Adrian also spent many years as Master of the Ledbury Hunt. Rich spent his younger years helping out in all three professions, gaining a lot of experience and giving him many options of what he could potentially do later in life.

Rich attended Hartpury College and received a degree in Countryside Management with a focus in Gamekeeping. After leaving college, he ran a part-time shoot for the chairman of the Southhampton Football Club in the Cotswolds. Chairman of Newcastle United Football Club, Manager of Southhampton Football club, and many other FC’s attended the shoots. He then accepted a position running a shoot on the Cadbury family estate (yes, the chocolate). During this time he also worked part time as a loader and dog handler on Princess Anne’s estate and with the royal family.

From here Rich accepted a full time position at Longlete where each gamekeeper managers their own 6000 acre section of the estate. Each gamekeeper gets a certain section that they manage and clients and shoots are assigned to the drives twice a day, 6 days a week. There are roughly 15,000 pheasant and 30,000 partridges in the wild on one section. Longlete on a whole raises 100,000 birds a season. Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Neil Armstrong, and Sir John Rose are just a handful of some of Longlete’s high profile clients.

After visiting America for several summers and making a second family and friends Rich decided to pack up and fill a void the country didn’t even know that it had. This type of business doesn’t exist here. People are aware of driven shooting, but they know it in conjunction with England. Rich has now brought the opportunity of traditional English driven shooting to anyone who wants to experience it. He wanted a new challenge and jumped in head first, never looking back.

John Alexander, Shooting Instructor

John Alexander, is a Level III sporting clays instructor and an excellent teacher and coach.  We’re lucky to have John on site for most shoots and we begin each day with a round of clays to warm up and get some pointers.  Whether you are a beginning or experienced shooter, you will benefit greatly from John’s instruction.  John is also available to provide individual and group lessons a day or two ahead of time.  We’re happy to make these accommodations.

Robert Peel, Founder of Lioncrest Shooting Experience U.K. (Advisor)

After seven years military service, Rob joined famed gun maker Holland & Holland in 1988, training under the keen eye of the Chief Instructor, Ken Davies.  Rob worked at the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds for eleven years instructing shooters of all ages and skills.

Rob has represented Holland & Holland (in the USA) on a variety of events ranging from instructional trips to the setting up and running the shooting activity for Land-Rover USA.  During his last five years with Holland & Holland, Robert helped manage the Holland & Holland shoots in West England, as well as loading and instructing on the grouse moors of Yorkshire and Scotland.

Rob is an advisor, frequent visitor and dear friend to Castle Mountain and we are thrilled to have not only his endorsement, but his company at many of our shoots. 

Our Dogs

No shooting operation is complete without a few great dogs.  Annie and her crew keep pheasants in line and flying high.  She’ll greet you in the morning, check in at lunch and gladly show you around on an afternoon rough shoot.