I've been playing this song since the mid-90s, when I acquired the transcription in Mark Hanson's "The Music Of Leo Kottke"...I had no idea what the title and music were actually referencing, and remained ignorant of it for 16 years.
I had always been unquestioningly accepting of the implied "Down-Home-Rustic-slash-Living-In-God's-Country-slash-Beautiful-Simplicity-Of-Nature" thematic associations of 'Little Beaver', never suspecting there might be a more sophisticated backstory to this short piece of sunny guitar music with an environmentally cozy title. Recently, I purchased a copy of the Stropes transcription, which contains in its introduction the enlightening truth of the matter... On my day off today (partially out of boredom), I put together a video to illustrate this truth, with the primary agenda being the airing out of my own rendition.
My recording was done last year on a Taylor custom GS tuned to A440, drop-D, with a capo on the second fret, so the song actually sounds in the key of E. The guitar was recorded in my apartment using a Zoom H2 handheld recorder. I added the bass in Garage Band to give it a bit more jaunt and pep.
16 years ago, Mark Hanson's transcription was the only game in town. There were only a few discrepancies that I could detect in his otherwise magnificent -- and very helpful -- effort. As it turns out, though, Leo doesn't quite play it this way live. Mark appears to have notated some of the plunky synthesized stuff that was layered in with Leo's playing on the "Shout Towards Noon" recording (which, I believe, is what Mark used to generate his transcription). A short clip of Leo playing this piece live (and the errantly-transcribed section) can be found on a YouTube video promoting a 2010 Kottke Workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and anyone familiar with Mark's transcription can immediately hear the difference. That having been said, I still kinda dig the Mark Hanson version.