Experimental dosages of alpha-chloralose, an odorless and nearly tasteless oral anesthetic, were administered on baits to 17 wild black bears (Ursus americanus) and two captive wild bears. Nine of the 17 were sufficiently narcotized to permit handling without mechanical restraint up to 48 hours later. The other free-living bears escaped in sub-effective narcosis or if anesthetized, were not located in the field. One bear died as a result of chloralose overdosage and another succumbed from an overdose of pentabarbital sodium administered after capture. Preliminary data on the application of the method and some suggestions for further research are presented. Investigations on bears sometimes involve trapping and handling for collecting data and marking. An initial step in such studies is to find or develop effective trapping techniques.