Nelson archer Markus Erdmann takes aim. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Markus shoots for bulls-eye

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Nelson archer Markus Erdmann has a clear target in his sights.

The German expat wants to be one of the best archers in the country and recently proved he has a realistic shot of achieving it.

Markus earlier this month competed at the New Zealand Field Archery Association Nationals on the Kapiti Coast, where more than 50 of the country’s best archers battled it out.

“There were a few younger ones there which was nice to see, and a few veterans over 60.”

He says the perception of the sport is often misguided.

“A lot of people think of a target on the lawn and shooters stand in a line and shoot it, but field archery is when you take your bow and arrow for a walk in the woods.”

Scattered throughout the track are 3D foam targets shaped like animals such as goats, alligators, bears and even dragons.

“You never know the distance, one can be 8m away and the next can be 55m.”

Archers were allowed three arrows per target with the first successful hit determining your score.

“It’s more points if you make it with first shot.”

Markus, who opts to shoot with a wooden bow and arrow to pay homage to the world’s earliest hunters, placed second in the historic class division.

He says there are a range of bow and arrows that can be used from Robin Hood-style long bows, English long bows, Indian flat bows.

“Ones that have been around for 30,000 years.”

He says there are more challenges with shooting a wooden bow as opposed to the carbon.

“There are more inconsistencies in the arrow that you have to cater for.”

As there is no club in Nelson, Markus is a member of the Kapiti Coast Archery Club so he can compete in national tournaments.

He says, next, he hopes to create a Nelson field archery club.

Markus came to New Zealand with his wife eight years ago and fell in love with the region.

He is now living his dream with his own field archery range in his business Archery Park Nelson.

“I can practice a lot and we have an unofficial club where some friends just get together for a shoot.”

The German expat says it is his dream to one day represent his adopted home and play for the Black Arrows, New Zealand’s archery team.

Markus also runs an archery adventure business based at Cable Bay Adventure Park and also recently became a certified field archery coach.

“It’s something I have been thinking about for 15 years.”

Opened in February, the park offers an immersive archery experience.