I just barely hit the back of a deer the other night.
It made the same terrible thumping noise as when you hit a small animal.
I turned the corner and there it was. I could tell it was about to run out onto the wet, slick asphalt. I weighed my options; brake quickly and risk skidding, continue at the same pace and risk a deer through the windshield; slow down and hope it maintained speed. I braked slowly. My car about a foot away from it, the deer slowed down. I knew what was going to happen. I hoped it wouldn't. I hoped it wouldn't slow down more, that both my car and the deer would be ok.
I pulled over. Tears streaming, I look back out my window but the deer is gone. However much I had hurt it, at least it was able to get off the road. Maybe I should've found this comforting, but I didn't. I've seen what happens when a deer injured by a car wanders off onto somebody's property. They don't usually last too long.
The idea of a mountain lion killing a deer doesn't bother me; it doesn't bother me when I see vultures circling and eventually landing on a corpse; I've eaten deer that's been locally hunted and it doesn't phase me in the slightest, but this unintentional clash of technology and nature broke my heart.