This question has been posited to me several times on Quora, and I’ve tried to answer it several times. But I do think it’s best that I just post it here with simple video.
There was movie called Buffalo Rider in 1978 that had the main character as a sort folk hero who rode a bison around taking down evil doers all over the West. It is not the best -acted or best written movie (to say the least), and one thing you very quickly realize is how hard it would be to ride a bison.
I have a sense of humor, so I will post a Jomo and the Possum Posse video that makes fun of this film. You can see how hard it is to ride a tame bison!
So when I see this on Quora again. I’m just going to link to this.
And I should point out that when you go to tame wild bovines, you’re kind of putting your life in your own hands. Even domestic cattle are pretty dangerous animals, and I cannot imagine how brave one would have to have been to domesticate aurochs, which were larger and far more recalcitrant.
If you can live where you can just hunt them, you’re a lot better off. You are not forced to live with them in intimate contact every single day.
So there was never good reason to tame bison in America until Europeans arrived, and there were plenty of good reasons to leave them as a natural resource that one could harvest in much the same way we harvest white-tailed deer.