I'm learning to reduce those "limits". Good friend of mine has helped me with that the last few years.
The right gear, prepairing my body and mind and raw experience of trial and many errors has helped gain confidence. I use to play it a lot more safe than I do now. Stalks or set ups that I wouldn't have thinked worked or tried have been succesful in recent years. We as bowhunters don't always get many chances.
I'm also not afrain to fail anymore. Mule deer for example: In the last 2 years I've been fortuanate to make 18 sperate stalks stalks on bucks only to connect once. All those stalks have prolly taught me more than years of hunting.
Well, my experience is, hunting with a longbow you're gonna get plenty of opportunities for stalks and it really sharpens your skills, just like bowhntr said.
That's why I like bowhunting, and have really enjoyed it the few times I've done it. I usually hunt with a muzzleloader for elk, and once I get inside 100 yards the hunt is pretty much over and I'm packing meat. Not so with a bow!! One of my most memorable hunts was with a longbow and I never came close to getting a shot. I closed to within 40 yards of a small herd early in the hunt, and watched those elk for about an hour before dark, they never knew I was there but I couldn't close the distance for a shot. They were grazing in a small meadow and I was behind a screen of spruce, and it was uncanny how there was always at least once cow looking in my direction. When that cow would shift position, I'd start to take a step but then another one would face me. I must've picked up my foot to take that first step a dozen times, held it motionless, and put it back down without moving. I realized that if I'd been muzzleloader hunting the hunt would've been over within seconds of spotting the elk, and I would've missed that hour and all the other stuff that came after in the next few days, like the massive 7 X 7 that I saw, or the doe and fawn I snuck within spitting distance of, or the Pine Marten that went about his business unaware, and so on.
But to answer the question, I usually gauge the distance at which a stalk is worthwhile by the time it would take me to get over to where the animals are, and how long I think they'll be there. If I'm going to lose sight of 'em on the stalk, I figure anything over 15-20 minutes and they're likely to be somewhere else. That's under good conditions when I'm seeing animals. If I haven't been seeing much I'll go to wherever I see 'em. Two years ago was like that, wasn't seeing any bulls so I glassed off the side of the mountain and saw a whopper way down below around two miles away. There wasn't a good road straight down the mountain so I packed up camp and drove down there, probably a 10-mile drive. I saw the bull again the next morning at around 3/4 mile and hauled ass over there but never did catch up to him. Got to see some nice country in the process though.
Sorry for all of the pix. I blame my phone. I guess utilize whatever cover is available. How do you know when to stop stalking and when you can go farther, experience? Maximum effective bow range? Wind? Distance? Light? Want?
My spotting in the evening is usually to determine where I want to be at first light the next morning.
2011 I chased bugles for 3 miles starting at about 5:30 pm in Late Sept. I only got a glimpse of the bull 150 yds in front of me when another bunch of hunters busted him. I hiked out at last light, then at first light I was on the opposite side of the country he was in and killed him 15 minutes into legal shooting light.
2010 Tule Elk bull I dogged with his herd in the morning until they bedded in the desert at 11:00 am. I backed out and went out at 5:00 pm and spotted the herd bedded in a more covered area. I snuck within 300 yds and got him as the cows got up and came down the trail.
2008 Spotted a rutting blacktail buck cruising 500 yards away. moved on a course to intercept and never saw him again. (Bedded bucks or feeding bucks easier to move on)
2010 Blacktail buck. spotted in early evening along creek. Set up with an opening in range , and he followed a doe into the opening long enough that my daughter could shoot him with about 20 minutes of shooting light left.
More or less in the evening I set up out of range let them come to me, and the morning/midday I go to them...
I mule deer hunt, so I use time as a my limiting factor. If buck beds after 10 am, I know I have about 3 hours max to get in position, so if there is more than 3 miles terrian (usually verticle terrain is what limits me), I wait for another day.
I've got on mule deer several miles away in a few hours in the right conditions, but not usually. I love to see them within 1,000 yards, as I can usually get to them in time.
I've been on a sheep hunt that we spotted from 3 miles away before we began the stalk. Moose that we knew was legal from the same distance. Caribou I have stalked from about 2 miles and grizz for 3 miles away as well. Where you hunt usually determines how far you start going after an animal most of my hunts are above timberline and thus spotting things way out is the norm. Of course the "stalk" really doesn't start at 3 miles out though. Not exactly belly crawling and whispering in from 3 miles away
It depends on the country I am hunting, I have gone as far as 2 miles and connected on a group of hogs the bedded right next to a spring. I have also seen bucks at 600 yards and made a sneek and they disappear. The longer the stalk is the greater the chances of an animal moving during the stalk.