The initiative that succeeded in adopting the white-tailed deer as Wisconsin's official state wildlife animal originated over conflicts arising when Assemblyman (State Representative) Byron Wackett introduced a bill, in January, 1957, that proposed adopting Bucky Badger as the state's official animal.
A serious challenge rose from a group of northern county assemblymen who crafted a bill naming the white-tailed deer as the official state animal.
The assemblymen and bill sponsors, David Blanchard, Willis Hutnik, and Earl Morton thought that the white-tailed deer would better serve conservation, hunting, and tourism interests.
Blanchard called the Bucky Badger legislation trite, claiming there "was no such animal as a Bucky Badger."
From January through April of 1957 the conflict of ideas continued. Amendments were proposed and shouted or voted down.
In compromise mode, it was finally decided that two bills, one naming the badger, without regard to a specific named badger, be designated the official state animal and another designating the white-tailed deer the official wild life animal would be moved forward.
The white-tailed deer became Wisconsin's official state wildlife animal when the final legislation was signed by Governor Vernon Thomson on May 31, 1957.
[Published June 6, 1957. No. 141, A.]
AN ACT to amend 1.10 of the statutes, relating to the designation of the white-tailed deer as the state animal.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
1.10 of the statutes is amended to read:
1.10 The Wisconsin state tree is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); the Wisconsin state flower is the wood violet (Viola papilionacea); the Wisconsin state bird is the robin (Turdus migratorius); the Wisconsin state fish is the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy masquinongy Mitchell); the Wisconsin state animal is the badger (taxidea taxes) and the Wisconsin wild life animal is the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The Wisconsin Blue Book shall include the information contained in this section concerning the state tree, flower, bird, fish, animal and wild life animal.
Approved May 31, 1957.
Careful reading of this act will reveal that the white-tailed deer was originally adopted as the official state "wild life (two words) animal." This title was changed the "wildlife (one word) animal" with adoption of 1971's Assembly Bill No. 914 that adopted the dairy cow as Wisconsin's official state domestic animal.
The following information was excerpted from the 2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations, Chapter 1, Section 1.10.
CHAPTER 1 SOVEREIGNTY AND JURISDICTION OF THE STATE
1.10 State song, state ballad, state waltz, state dance, and state symbols.
(3) The Wisconsin state symbols are as follows:
(a) The mourning dove (Zenaidura macroura corolinensis Linnaeus) is the symbol of peace.
(b) Milk is the state beverage.
(c) The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is the state tree.
(d) Corn (Zea mays) is the state grain.
(e) The wood violet (Viola papilionacea) is the state flower.
(f) The robin (Turdus migratorius) is the state bird.
(g) The muskellunge (Esox masquinongy masquinongy Mitchell) is the state fish.
(h) The badger (Taxidea taxus) is the state animal.
(i) The dairy cow (Bos taurus) is the state domestic animal.
(j) The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the state wildlife animal.
(k) The American water spaniel is the state dog.
(L) The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the state insect.
(m) The trilobite (Calymene celebra) is the state fossil.
(n) Galena (lead sulfide) is the state mineral.
(o) Red granite is the state rock.
(p) Antigo silt loam (Typic Glossoboralf) is the state soil.
(r) The cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is the state fruit.
(s) The tartan whose thread count is described in this paragraph is the state tartan. The thread count for the state tartan shall begin with 44 threads of muted blue, followed by 6 threads of scarlet, 4 threads of muted blue, 6 threads of gray, 28 threads of black, 40 threads of dark green, 4 threads of dark yellow, 40 threads of dark green, 28 threads of black, 22 threads of muted blue, and 12 threads of dark brown, at which point the weave reverses, going through 22 threads of muted blue, and continuing the sequence in reverse order until the weave reaches the beginning point of 44 threads of muted blue, at which point the weave reverses again.
(t) The kringle is the state pastry.
"White-Tailed Deer Official Wildlife Animal of State." Janesville Daily Gazette. 1 Jun 1957, 1. Print.
"Badger and Deer Bill Awaiting Signature." Ironwood Daily Globe 11 May 1957, 1. Print.
"Deer, Cow and Dog Trail Badger as State Animal." Janesville Daily Gazette 12 Apr 1957, 1. Print.
"Fight To Pin Badger On Wisconsin Books." Stars & Stripes 25 Feb 1957, Pacific 7. Print.
"Democrats Bid For Repeal Of Catlin." Stevens Point Daily Journal. 6 Feb 1957, 13. Print.
"Wisconsin Legislative Documents Archive." Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin, . Web. 7 Dec 2013. .
"2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations." Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin, 6 Dec 2013. Web. 7 Dec 2013.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
The White-Tailed Deer: "Wisconsin State Animal," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: Environmental Education for Kids. This page actually misidentifies the white-tailed deer as the state animal. Technically, it is the state wildlife animal.
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus: National Geographic: Animals.
White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus: New Hampshire Public Television NatureWorks.
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus): National Wildlife Foundation's eNature.com field guide.
Odocoileus virginianus - White-tailed deer: Information about white-tailed deer from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals.
Odocoileus virginianus - White-tailed deer: Information about white-tailed deer from the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology - Animal Diversity Web.
Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann, 1780) - White-tailed deer: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.
Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed deer): CalPhoto photographs. The Biodiversity Sciences Technology group (BSCIT), a part of the Berkeley Natural History Museums at the University of California, Berkeley.
State Animals: Complete list of official state animals from NETSTATE.COM.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Wisconsin state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
White-Tailed Deer, by Mark Raycroft. 144 pages. Firefly Books (September 1, 1999) As a wildlife biologist, I have been studying white-tailed deer for over a decade. In this time, I have acquired extensive knowledge of the natural history and complex behavioral patterns of this appealing animal. But most of all, I have spent countless hours up close, personally studying and photographing hundreds of these graceful creatures.
White Tailed Deer - Coffee Mug, Microwave safe, FDA approved. Image is printed on both sides of the mug.
Photographs and prints: Photographs, prints, posters of white-tailed deer; bucks, does, and fawns.