OK, I just have to continue to take strong issue with some of the stuff being repeated here a few times - it breaks down like this:
1. Possibly unethical because they move their neck suddenly and can thus cause a miss or bad shot: No, not so. Would be true if you were aiming up high on the neck, near the base of the skull, but the mid-neck does not move completely, such that you will miss the neck, even if the deer is turning his head. Particularly with rounds that get there very fast (full powered, bottle-necked rounds), at close range. (and particularly on bucks which have larger necks). In addition, as for "if you miss, you can shoot their jaw off and not kill them": No, I don't think so - If you're aiming mid-neck, as I advocate, then a miss will result in no-harm, no foul, as follows (imagine a deer broadside with its head to your left): too far in front - complete miss under head. too far in back - still hit the spine (since the spine is sloping down and back), OR a complete miss. too high - right in the spine (even better), or complete miss. too low - complete miss, OR trachea hit - I submit that trachea hit with proper bullet will still drop them, but I am open to contra on this particular point.
2. Related to #1, "most people can't hit that small of target, if if NOT moving, from a field rest, and so unethical": This is sorta true, and the second-best point made. And it is a definite valid point, if you take my original premise of 75-100 yards or less. True enough. However, I am *hereby* changing the entire original premise fro 75-100 yards, down to 50 yards or less.
So that changes everything. So I was wrong; everyone else was right. But 50 yards or less, even with average-bubba skill, even field-rest or sling-supported free standing shot, even if the deer is just starting to move it's head, or even if the deer is slowly walking, my premise still stands *IFF* I change it to 50 yards or less, assuming well-sighted in rifle, and good hold. Since I'm now hereby changing my premise based on the new yardage (which distance makes a huge difference, of course), I am now right once again.
75 yards, different story. 100 yards, *definitely* different story (for the average bubba, and/or an above-average bubba unsupported).
3. Regarding the allegation that "no, destroying shoulder meat is not an issue because I take broadside shots that do a clean pass through double lung, no shoulder, and therefore no need to ever try the small target neck shot.": No, I call hogwash on this reasoning because even if you try to get most of you shots exactly or nearly-exactly broadside, I would venture a guess that 99% of you ain't gonna pass up the shot if the animal is slightly quartering away or toward, or "regularly" quartering away or toward, or severely quartering away or toward. And those instances are FAR more common than a clean perfect broadside shot. And, in those instances, you're gonna need to hit the front shoulder *EITHER* on the way in, OR on the way out, in order to hit heart/lung.
4. Regarding the "they bleed out faster, so less mess and better taste" - touche, that is the best point yet, and the only one (perhaps) 100% valid - I dunno about the taste, but you're right - I sure did get very bloody while gutting the neck-shot deer.
5. Regarding "I WANT to hit a shoulder to *physically* disable, not just make them bleed out" - would be a good point except for the fact that a neck shot drops them almost always, so you get as good or better result without any meat damage.
OK, so to revise and revamp, if anyone cares to give input still:
1. UNDER 50 yards;
2. With a high-powered bottle-necked cartridge round that gets to the target extremely fast;
3. With a soft-point or other very-fast-expanding bullet, which expands thus at the velocity of your chosen round at short range.
4. With a well-sighted rifle (preferably scoped with low -powered scope, for pinpoint quick acquisition), *sighted in* for the short ranges (very important);
5. A MID-neck shot is a superior first-choice shot than a vitals shot, generally speaking
6. this is even if the deer is slowly walking
7. this is even if shooting from an unsupported position (though preferably with sling support), provided you can get a good hold and you are a good shot.
8. This is true even if the deer might turn it's head suddenly out of the blue, because the mid-neck doesn't move enough to make you miss under these circumstances.
9. This is true even if you don't aim for and hit the spine - there will be so much shock and trauma from the expanding bullet that it will stun the CNS at a minimum, and drop the deer CNS hit or not.
Once again though, my experience is VERY limited - I can count on one hand still the number of years I've been hunting (seriously), so I'm still very open to contrary (and in truth, I'm probably wrong - I just need to read some stories of neck shots gone awry, but don't ever see them).
P.S. I believe that at such short range, the idea that neck shots are a better choice would still hold true without "high powered bottle-necked rounds". I think a .44 mag or .45-70 would get there fast enough to make it ethical even if the deer is slowly walking.
Okay, talk amongst yourselves.