I know guys that hunt hogs with dogs and knives for sport / meat on the table and I'm willing to bet that their range isn't all that far. It's not for me but that's what they do. Some hunt with bows, rifles, crossbows etc. by choice of style and how they like to pursue the sport. Some people harvest corn with john deere combines which would arguably be the "best" way but I do it by hand in the garden. (Not that I could afford one of those anyway) Sig, it seems like you're taking the stance of asking why would some people hunt animals unless it's the best way to do it but I see it as there are a lot of effective ways to hunt and no matter which one is chosen, the hunter should be, or at least strive to be good enough to be able to do it as humanely as possible so I do agree with you there.
I've seen where people stuck hogs and deer and they don't get far at all and there has been ONE time that I shot a hog at about 5-7 yards on a run with a .30-06 and never found him. (too danged high and forward on the shoulder ) Very bad application of my equipment. But it bugged me enough to shoot him around noon and track him until almost midnight by the worlds smallest and scattered blood trail. I hate when that happens and am glad that it's only happened to me one time. I hunt for the meat AND the excitement and although I know that a rifle will open up the hunt to longer ranges, there is a certain level of satisfaction for instance, knowing that you did it with a bow vs. rifle, or handload vs. factory. It is a sport; a sport with perks having meat on the table when successful. I guess if it wasn't a sport then they shouldn't have named the entity that regulates it the Dept. of Fish and Game.
As for the OP, I haven't hunted with a crossbow but have shot them so I myself would tend to lean toward a bow. I haven't done it for quite some time but have hunted with bows and love it. I've thought about getting another one too and would most likely go with a compound, probably a PSE derivative. And with my bow skills, I probably wouldn't release at anything much farther than 25 - 30 yards. I'm pretty rusty, it's been a while and I hate tracking game in to the night but will do it if I have to. I do know that shooting a bow is like ham radio, pistol or rifle shooting, reloading etc.. It can be endless as to the number of necessories that can lead to spending big bucks.