Do you know why Wisconsin is referred to as the Badger State? Mental Floss explains this and other “Curious, Bizarre & Storied State Symbols.”
… The Badger State title originally refers not to Bucky, nor to the savage beast itself, but to lead miners in the 1820s and 30s. These miners moved from prospect to prospect in southwestern Wisconsin, traveling light and often, with little money for luxury. When winter came and conditions worsened, those miners too far from home to migrate would dig themselves sheltering caves in the hills — like badgers. These temporary dwellings could be abandoned if a prospect proved fruitless, without much regret; and if the lead pickings were good, the lucky miner could fluff up his badger hole or upgrade to a more traditional Euro-American residence. For this practice Wisconsin miners were dubbed “badgers” — a jibe that was soon appropriated as a proud, statewide nickname. Bucky didn’t come along until 1949; the furry, quadruped badger, notoriously vicious when cornered, wasn’t declared Wisconsin’s state animal until 1957.
Being a history buff, I knew this already, but thought that some WisBlawg readers might not.
The above photo from the UWDCC’s University of Wisconsin Collection is of Bill Sagal, the first human Bucky Badger mascot in 1949.