Survival skills are vital to those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and fishing. Luckily, the existence of the world wide web opened up ways for people from all walks of life to share advice about their favorite techniques and know-how.

A YouTube channel called Deep Bush Survival is one such place for beginner outdoorsmen and women to find these types of tips. One video in particular caught the eyes of many when it showed exactly how bad things can get in the great outdoors.

In one of their videos, a cyclist films himself as he encounters something truly frightening in the woods. Understandably, the video quickly went viral…

According to its bio, the Deep Bush Survival YouTube channel “is intended to teach bushcraft skills, self-reliance, and forced survival,” and the channel’s creators frequently upload videos that exemplify these skills. One of their most popular videos to date, however, occurred when an unnamed cyclist was out on a seemingly ordinary ride through the mountains in October 2015.

His video didn’t reveal his location, though it was clear that the trail was in a mountainous region that was quite secluded. Regardless, it was what the cyclist saw in the tall grass that made this particular video so frightening…

The man quickly noticed a figure that had been almost completely camouflaged by the grass. He actually didn’t realize the creature was there at all until it started to slink toward him. Once he realized what it was, he knew immediately that he was in incredible danger…

That’s when it became quite clear what had been stalking the cyclist: a huge mountain lion. Also known as a cougar or puma, these big wild cats are native to the Americas. They’re also fearsome predators, and humans are certainly no match for them. The man instinctively ran a few steps back, but that only encouraged the mountain lion to chase him to the edge of the trail. If it wanted to, it could’ve easily charged him right then and there.

Initially, the cyclist tried to prove he wasn’t intimidated by talking to the big cat, but when that didn’t work, his tone became more severe. “I am much bigger than you,” he said sternly. Unfortunately, the mountain lion didn’t seem to buy it, and it continued to circle the man unfazed.

As he became more and more worried, the cyclist started to raise his voice in an attempt to scare away the animal. This didn’t work very well, as the mountain lion promptly let out a series of low, threatening growls, proving exactly how agitated (and possibly hungry) he was.

Thinking he’d try intimidating the mountain lion instead, the cyclist proceeded to imitate the growls—but that seemed to only make the situation worse. In response, the cougar snarled loudly at him. This big cat was definitely not backing down.

Through all of this, the cyclist continued providing commentary for the video. “There is a mountain lion right here,” he said. “And he’s just staring me down.”

After a brief gap in the filming, the mountain lion was shown still following the cyclist. This time, they were at the end of the path, near a small sign announcing the trailhead. The mountain lion continued to walk toward the cyclist. It seemed pretty confident in itself. Would it strike?

Suddenly, though, the man did something surprising: he started walking towards the creature rather than away from it. The unexpected move made the cougar pause for a moment. After a few seconds, it turned its head as if it was reconsidering its attack…

Whether the cougar grew bored or he simply became anxious at the cyclist’s efforts to prove his dominance, he suddenly backed off. Understandably, the man seemed relieved when he saw the fearsome cat turn and calmly walk back into the woods.

The cyclist’s video went viral on YouTube, garnering more than 2.5 million views. Some viewers had their doubts about its accuracy, claiming that the mountain lion’s roar sounded eerily similar to a stock sound effect. Still, there’s no questioning the danger that this man was in.

If you ever find yourself face-to-face with a mountain lion, many experts recommend trying to make yourself more intimidating, as the cyclist did. Maintaining eye contact, for example, can help achieve that. The cyclist was also smart to create a lot of noise.

Art G / Wikimedia Commons

Do whatever you can to make yourself appear physically larger in these situations, too. For example, you can open a jacket or shirt and spread it apart wide, or you can start waving a stick or your arms. Either way, never turn your back on a mountain lion or run—that will just trigger their instinct to chase you.

Cloudtail the Snow Leopard / Flickr

You can watch the cyclist’s entire encounter with the mountain lion below. It’s really quite frightening, especially when you hear the cougar roaring after the man tried to scare it away. What would you do if you were ever in this position?

All things considered, this cyclist did as best as he could in demonstrating how to remain (relatively) calm and make the right choices during a cougar encounter. We can all learn from that!

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