As stealthily as I could, I headed down the mountain. The deer had gone the same direction I had to, so I worked to give it as wide a berth as possible as I crept downhill. Anxious that I would spook him despite my best efforts, I kept my eyes trained in the direction he had run off. Suddenly, I saw movement. It looked unusual as it moved through the trees, a lighter color of brown, and a measured, predatory gait. As it slipped through a wider gap in the pines, I realized, startled, that it was a mountain lion. The lion disappeared into the trees, leaving me thrilled that I had seen a wildcat—a rare occurrence even in the heart of their habitat. That thrill, however, quickly turned to dread as I realized that it was headed in the direction my buck had just fled.