Fixed-kernel density estimates using radiotelemetry locations are frequently used to quantify home ranges of animals, interactions, and resource selection. However, all telemetry data have location error and no studies have reported the effects of error on utilization distribution and area estimates using fixed-kernel density estimators. We simulated different home range sizes and shapes by mixing bivariate-normal distributions and then drawing random samples of various sizes from these distributions. We compared fixed-kernel density estimates with and without error to the true underlying distributions. The effects of telemetry error on fixed-kernel density estimates were related to sample size, distribution complexity, and ratio of median Circular Error Probable to home range size. We suggest a metric to assess the adequacy of the telemetry system being used to estimate an animal's space use before a study is undertaken. Telemetry location error is unlikely to significantly affect fixed-kernel density estimates for most wildlife telemetry studies with adequate sample sizes.
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Vol. 71 • No. 7