Don Bryant: "Also FWIW, the bar is set so high now (and has been for decades) for nature/wild life imagery that the weekend photographer will be hard pressed to produce or make photographs that rival the best professional work."

I think you hit the nail on the head there. A pro can spend the money (and time) to follow lions around in africa for a month.
I can only spend $200 on a sub-standard lens and an hour in the park trying to catch the deer.