The effective range of your crossbow depends on your shooting ability. Today’s high powered crossbows have an effective range in the neighborhood of 60 yards, but not everyone has the ability to be accurate at that distance. Because of the typical North American whitetail deer habitat, most kill shots are taken at 20 yards or less. If you are an average shooter, you should probably not take a shot beyond 35 to 40 yards.
Comparison tests have proven that there is a negligible ballistic difference between compound bows and crossbows. These tests disprove the groundless claims that crossbows perform like firearms. Crossbows typically start losing velocity and energy at 30 yards compared to a black powder rifle which begins to lose velocity and energy at 100 yards or more.
In 1994, Ohio published year-by-year deer harvest data going all the way back to 1900. Ohio first allowed crossbows in archery season in 1976 and the conclusions are clear: Over the 18-year span since crossbow use has been permitted, crossbows have not decimated the deer population, the archery season has not been eliminated or shortened; and crossbows did nothing to diminish archers' opportunities to hunt or their chances for success. On the contrary, the opposite occurred. The deer population increased; the season got longer; more counties opened for hunting; more hunters participated; and the harvest-to-permits-sold ratio improved dramatically. Data available from Arkansas and Georgia support the same conclusions as that of Ohio.