LANSING, Mich. -

The number of vehicle crashes involving deer is falling again in Michigan.

The Lansing State Journal says about 49,000 were reported to state police last year, down 8 percent from 2011 -- and down 20 percent from 2009.

Why? It could be a smaller deer population, better drivers or simply fewer crashes being reported to police. Brent Rudolph of the Department of Natural Resources believes the deer herd has been shrinking in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Car-deer crashes still can have tragic results. State police say 1,300 people were injured last year and eight people died, including three on motorcycles.

Oakland County was No. 1 with about 1,700 crashes. Kent County was No. 2 after three years in the top spot.

Read: Oakland County is No. 1 in Michigan deer crashes