I am old enough to know not to engage in those posts on the internet these days, but football is slow and I feel compelled to reply:
I've shot quite a few large animals in my life but never in the head/neck (until this year).
Heart/lungs simply offers a bigger, more forgiving target. I respect the animals I hunt and I will not take a chance in a crippling shot. I've lost 2 deer in my life and both still haunt me and I will do anything to keep it from happening again.
In my case this year, I was presented with a head/neck only shot at a buck antelope at 80 yards. The animal was facing DIRECTLY AT ME - the only way I would EVER CONSIDER a head/neck shot as there's (virtually) no chance of hitting only a nose or jaw. I was prone with my rifle rested on my backpack with zero wind, a rock solid rest, and the antelope was not frightened or moving. I'd recovered from my 1 1/2 mile stalk and was breathing calmly. My .270 handloads shoot cloverleafs at 100 yards and have been tested through my rifle in the prone, offhand, kneeling, bench, and multiple bi-pod positions over the years. Miss low, hit the base of the neck. Miss high, head shot. Miss left or right, Jugular/carotid, quick bleed out, game over. I actually went through all of this in my head in about 10 seconds and talked myself into the shot. It's the only time in my life I have ever considered, and taken a shot like this. I settled in, put the crosshairs on the buck's adam's apple, and pulled the trigger. The shot dropped the buck on the spot instantly, and 2 vertebrae were mush and mostly out the back of his neck when I cleaned him. If I kill 100 more big game animals in my life, I bet 2 or less will be a head/neck shot. It's got to be PERFECT. That's just my take.
Problem is, people read threads like this and think, "why not try? Never know unless you try!" They take the rifle out of the lead sled and head into the woods and try to long, low percentage shots. Just because you have the right and you can (legally), doesn't mean you should. I am a staunch conservative and used to argue "if it's legal, leave me alone" but I am older, wiser, and more mature: Just because I can, doesn't always mean I should. It's the same reason I choose not to use battery powered motion decoys while duck hunting. Guess I am a traditionalist that way. To each his own.
The same way people reserve the right to take that risk with another animal's life in the field, I reserve the right to challenge the ethics of folks who attempt these shots when the situation, equipment, and their practice/experience is not perfect. Half the folks here will condone the shot, half won't. They're both right, but the individual who is shooting has to be mature enough to know when it's right. Unfortunately, it's been my experience that some folks aren't mature enough to make that call. I've lived across the country, and it's been my observation that this *tends* to be more prevalent based on geography, but I will stop at that.
I'll grit my teeth at the folks who take what I consider unethical shots, and it does frustrate me to read, but truth be told, I am happy with who I am and how I do it, so I let it all go pretty quick.
In the end, life is too short and I am perfectly happy hunting with like minded individuals and bagging a few less animals in my life, but making their last few moments on this earth respectful and ethical.