Resident badass Daryl (Norman Reedus) is rarely seen without his crossbow. Which is understandable, given the fact that it's quiet (so as not to alert any other nearby walkers), reusable (just pull that arrow out and off you go again), accurate (point, shoot, boom), and really effective.
"In many states' hunting regulations, [a crossbow] is classified with firearms, which tells you something about its effectiveness as a weapon," says Holding. "Until recently here in Utah, crossbows were only legal for hunting if you could demonstrate that you had a disability that prevented you from using other archery equipment. Its main advantages over a bow are that it requires less strength, skill, and practice to become proficient. As a traditional bowhunter myself, I lose or break a significant number of arrows, so I do question Daryl's seemingly endless supply of arrows, especially in the midst of insane zombie dust-ups.
Modern crossbows like Daryl's require aluminum or carbon fiber arrow shafts, so forget about making your own replacements with natural materials. However, in theory you could alter a crossbow to fire round projectiles – even rocks – and for a long-term survival situation that could be a distinct advantage. It has more moving parts and is therefore more prone to malfunction than a traditional bow, and yet has more potential for repair or modification than a firearm.
Bottom line: "In a true, long-term survival situation you'd be stoked to have a crossbow."