Former deputy sheriff, police chief found dead in apparent hunting accident

Jay Nelson was deputy sheriff of Becker County from 1999-2006.
Publish date:

The former deputy sheriff of Becker County was found dead in an apparent hunting accident on Saturday. 

According to the Becker County Sheriff's Office, Jay Clayton Nelson, 53, of Cormorant Township was found dead on a logging trail just after 6 p.m. Saturday, his body found less than a mile from Yellowhead Trail and Little Flat Lake in West Sugar Bush Township, which is located about 20 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes. 

Nelson, who served as the deputy sheriff in Becker County from 1999-2006, died of a gunshot wound, according to the sheriff's release. 

"This incident appears to be a hunting related accident," the release says, while asking the public for help in identifying anyone who could've been hunting in that area on Saturday. The department is also asking for information from anyone who saw vehicles, people, or heard gunshots in the area. 

Anyone who can help is asked to call the Becker County Sheriff's Office immediately at 218-847-2661. 

In a post to its Facebook page, the Becker County Sheriff's Office paid tribute to Nelson. 

"It is with great sadness that the Becker County Sheriff’s Office says good-bye to long-time friend and former co-worker Jay Nelson. Jay started his Law Enforcement career in the mid-80’s working part-time as a deputy sheriff for Becker County Sheriff’s Office and as an officer with the Pelican Rapids Police Department. He then worked for Law Enforcement agencies in North Dakota before coming back to Lake Park in the early 90’s where he was the Chief of Police. He then worked for the Becker County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff where he honorably served the citizens of Becker County from 1999-2006. Jay finished his career, again serving the citizens of Lake Park as their Chief of Police, before his retirement in approximately 2015. Thank you for your years of service and the great memories. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Toots, Jon, and Jake and all of Jay’s family and friends. You will be missed."

Nelson retired in 2015 after another nine years as Chief of Police in Lake Park, Minnesota. 

The case remains under investigation. 

Next Up

Miguel Sano

Miguel SanĂ³'s 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.

Thomas Humphrey, charged in vaccine thefts.

Viral videos of vaccine thefts lead to charges for MN anti-vaxxer

Thomas Edward Humphrey is a 32-year-old St. Paul resident.

Kyle Imdieke of Osakis, Minnesota.

Community rallies around family of MN coach who died suddenly

Kyle Imdieke was a beloved educator at Osakis High School.

Hinckley crash

Fatal crash that closed north I-35 caused when SUV crossed median

The incident occurred Friday afternoon one mile south of Hinckley in eastern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-05-15 at 7.17.27 AM

Viral video: Customer argues with Menards worker over store mask policy

The incident happened in Buffalo on Thursday, hours after the CDC issued new guidance on face masks for vaccinated people.

Sylvia Fowles

Phoenix, Minnesota live up to the hype in WNBA opener

Diana Taurasi hit the game-winning shot with 1.1 seconds to play.

Josh Donaldson

Oakland smacks four home runs to extend Twins' horrific start

The A's handed the Twins a 6-1 loss on Friday night.


Spring Lake Park Hy-Vee to open by the end of May

A dozen Hy-Vee stores are now located in the Twin Cities metro area.

PXG Store Manager Derek Holmes Qualifies for the PGA Championship

Minnesota golf store manager qualifies for PGA Championship

No word if he'll have to burn some vacation days to play in the PGA Championship!


Man arrested for manslaughter in hunting death of former police chief

Jay Nelson was found dead in his vehicle on Nov. 10.

Suspect in killing of ex-police chief says he shot to scare a fawn

The former Lake Park police chief was shot in the back on Nov. 10.

Missing hunter found dead in eastern Minnesota

His body was found in a pond in Pine County.

Man dies in hunting accident in southwest Minnesota

The 39-year-old was found dead in Nobles County.


Sheriff: Turkey hunter found dead in west-central Minnesota

Authorities say it appears the man died of natural causes.

paul sandstrom

Hunter who went missing in northern MN is found dead

He was reported missing on Sunday and his body was found Tuesday morning.

Man, deputy injured in Becker County officer-involved shooting

The Becker County Sheriff's responded to an incident on County Highway 29 Saturday night.