Being from Florida, I know of a few hunters who use dogs to hunt and track the wild hogs down here, along with other animals in a pack setting. If the dog doesn't track, is slow or late in returning, many times they leave them, or even shoot them in the woods. It is horrific, and not saying that this TN hunter would do the same, however I do believe a citation was in order. It took man hours and time on your tax payer dollars looking and capturing this dog before he starves or gets hit by a car, or runs the deer. There are options now with GPS tracking devices for the collars, or you just do not hunt in unfamiliar grounds. Leaving this dog was unacceptable under any circumstances if he cared for his dog. If the dog was flushing out birds, he should not have been that far ahead of his owner to get lost in the first place. That is my opinion.
The hunter had a beeper on the dog that according to those that saw the dog could be heard for close to 300 ft. I am guessing the dog took off after something and got out of hearing range. GPS units aren't cheep and I doubt that there are a lot of hunters that have them. They might be great for those that are chasing coyotes or bears as they frequently get out of hearing range but very few bird hunters have that problem as the dogs normally hunt close. My dog was always in sight or close enough that I could hear his bell. He made it a point to keep track of me and hunt around me.
Also if you read the story, he searched until he had to leave for home to be at work that Mon. There are some obligations that are hard to avoid. Tough choice, "search for your dog or lose your job". I understand that there were people in the area that he hunted with and people that lived in the area that were watching for the dog. None of them imagined that he would travel that far before he was spotted, and then wouldn't let anyone near him.
As far as spending my tax money, there are people in Gov. that waste my tax money on a lot more dumb things than helping find a dog every day. Besides isn't that their job, "To Serve and Protect". Sure beats having them sitting in the doughnut shop with nothing to do.
If having you dog run away and not being able to find it is something that you should get a citation for then there are a lot of people that should have one. Back about 30 years ago I had a dog wonder off when we were out in our yard. One minute he was laying in the shade watching me work in the yard and a couple of minutes later he was gone. I searched for weeks and never did find him. My feeling were that someone picked him up and even though he had a collar and tags decided to keep it as it was a 9 month old Golden Retriever.
No Renee, I think you are way out in in left field on this one. This was just a case of figuring no-one would come back from that far away to fight the ticket in court so this would be an easy one. Like I said before, sounds just like something that a few of our dnr wardens would do just because they can.