A longtime law enforcement officer in northwestern Minnesota was found shot to death over the weekend in what authorities are calling a hunting-related fatality.

Jay C. Nelson, 53, of Cormorant Township, was located by emergency responders early Saturday evening in a vehicle on a logging trail roughly 20 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes, according to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that its investigators believe this “appears to be a hunting-related accident” and are asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who may have been hunting in that area or heard gunshots.

Nelson was located a half-mile east of Yellowhead Trail and roughly a half-mile west of Little Flat Lake in West Sugar Bush Township.

Investigators can be reached at 1-218-847-2661.

Sheriff Todd Glander said Nelson had just finished hunting when he was shot. The wound was not self-inflicted.

Nelson began his career in the mid-1980s working as a part-time deputy for Becker County Sheriff’s Office and as a Pelican Rapids police officer. He then worked for various law enforcement agencies in North Dakota before joining the Lake Park, Minn., Police Department and being its chief.

He left Lake Park and was a sheriff’s deputy in Becker County from 1999 to 2006, then returned to the chief’s post in Lake Park until he retired in 2015.