Would you have shot?
Also, a bullet hole in the neck can be fixed if the taxidermist is good. Your tag, but what the heck, I would have tried to fill mine.
I learned my lesson on a 170 class deer: While waiting for it to get up out of it's bed, I got impatient, mouth grunted, and there was no smooth motion, it all of a sudden took off like a bolt of lightning into thick brush before I could even get my safety off. Wish to this day I would have pegged him in the head.
However, I would never fault a guy for passing on a shot that he wasn't comfortable with ethically or otherwise.
As long as you're happy with your decision, that's all that matters and I hope you run into that bad boy again someday! Sometimes the story you get to tell is as great as the trophy on the wall.
Good luck, Chris
It may incapacitate the deer, but you get exactly what you described. Slow painful death, and extreme mess to clean up.
Not worth it, and just cruel.
I've taken head shots on does, and neck shots on does and bucks. They both drop in their tracks and ruin minimal meat. Head shots kill instantly, neck shots shortly after.
That said, the conditions have to be ideal before I take that shot. I've passed on 40 yard shots when the wind was gusty, the deer was not standing still, or I couldn't hold steady enough.
Not worth the chance if it's not a sure thing.
One guy says he was on-stand one morning when he heard a commotion. He turned around and saw a large buck with a fine rack looking back at him, sort of "over the shoulder". The guy peers through the scope and has nothing but deer butt and deer face, and, reasoning that a headshot would damage the rack and impending mount, shoots the deer, you guessed it, right in the AH. With a 308.
So the deer runs off and the guy and his hunting partners are having a devil of a time finding the thing. Finally they find him, but he had apparently spun around and around and around in a circle, spraying blood all over the woods and probably dying a prolonged, and very painful death. The deer has flopped around so much that pieces of its hide had torn off from flopping on the rocks that protrude out of the earth in so many places in northern Wisconsin. Sickening.
I don't need a deer so badly that I'm going to take an "iffy" shot. Sure, I've wandered around the woods on the following days hating my own guts for passing up a shot, and then going day after day after day seeing nothing. That's deer hunting.
I think we owe the animal a little restraint in taking questionable shots, that's all.