Thanks for the suggestion! I bought some surplus steel jacket rounds for practice. I bought the rifle years ago for $29.95 but the hunting rounds were almost forty dollars a box!
Many hunters like to uses several weapons for bagging game, including compound and recurve bows. My latest interest is in making my own bow and bagging a deer or turkey with this ancient weapon. Perhaps I'll tell my "deer hunting with a knife" tale at some point. LOL!
I personally would not use both. but if I had to choose I would use a crossbow, not noisy as a gun. and seems very impersonal. I wish that you would have asked this question 12 years ago, maybe I would have stayed out of trouble.
Definitely a gun, but I grant that crossbow is way cooler if you have the patience and stalking skill for it, same goes for bow hunting too. I watched some guys bow hunting pheasant one time... that was so frickin' impressive. Like a Robin Hood movie for real.
Some hunters have opted for traditional bow hunting! The sense of achievement gained by actually making one's own bow, and arrows, string, etc., adds much more to the sporting and historical aspects of whitetail deer hunting. Like you, I consider using a crossbow as more sporting than using a rifle, but not much more. But to each his/her own!
I would not use a bow to hunt, not versatile enough in terms of distance, reload and killing power. I use a .3006 168 grain softnose for all my hunting of antelope, I generally take head or neck shots for instant kill, at a longer distance I shoot heart and lung and will often shoot again if the animal doesn't drop immediately. I bought a crossbow once and practised for a while and decided against using it. I have seen Kudu run for half a mile with an arrow through the lungs...did not like what I saw at all.
For Cape Buffalo, Elephant and predators (Lion, Leopard) I reccomend a .418 Rigby or .470 Holland and Holland nitro express. In my opinion .375 is not enough for these animals.
Predators can easily be taken with 30 caliber weapons, but you have to know what you're doing.